First-hand insight on the impact of nuclear on a community

To the Editor:

Many of those who are against the proposed site of the Ontario Nuclear Innovation Institute in Saugeen Shores lack insight as to what this Institute and research centre will mean to our Town and its residents of all ages. I have a very different perspective as someone who was here before Bruce Nuclear Power Development.

Let me give you some first-hand insight into how welcoming and accepting such a project and Institute can change a community’s future …..

Some of you reading this are way too young to remember “Before Bruce Nuclear Power Development” (BBNPD) but, as a youngster, I heard many of the same arguments used and phrases that are being uttered about the NII location and its impact, when “the Bruce” was first proposed by Ontario Hydro to be built outside of Tiverton. Those that did not want change went on and on how it was going to ruin our community.

Here is what I do know – it did not ruin our community!  In fact it improved it dramatically!  Saugeen Shores and our neighbouring communities would not have the current facilities, services and infrastructure if the minority of naysayers who did not welcome change were listened to in the 1960’s.

How wrong those naysayers were – And how much the nuclear industry has helped our communities to not only survive – but thrive!  I shudder to think what our towns would look like or if they would have survived if the naysayers who were in the minority were listened to as representing our community?

Because of the Bruce and their “Ontario Hydro Impact Grants” that were offered to our Town of Port Elgin and Southampton in the 1970’s and 1980’s, we have features and facilities not often seen in a community of our size. Those impact grants funded many features you use today – beach facilities, playground equipment, the Centennial Pool, and Northshore Park. Add in sewers and water treatment upgrading. Now we have 17 parks – 10 trails – four schools – baseball diamonds, soccer pitches and 2 new arenas.

We are the envy of many other rural communities along the Lakeshore as we have many community groups made up of former Ontario Hydro, OPG, and Bruce Power retirees and their family members and current Bruce Power employees and their spouses who have helped thousands to improve their quality of life in Saugeen Shores. And yes, even helped local residents and their sons and daughters gain employment since the late 1960’s.  I have high school friends who joined Ontario Hydro and OPG right out of high school and now have a high standard of life because the “naysayers” were not listened to some 50+ years ago!

To the naysayers – You chose this municipality to live in seasonally and full-time for its features, facilities, and infrastructure.  How do you think we got those features and infrastructure?  Or the stores and national chains that chose to open in our community? Case in point – there is a letter in the basement of McDonald’s written by a young Ross Wuerth asking for a McDonald’s to come to Port Elgin. Why did McDonald’s choose to come to Port Elgin?  Unfortunately, not because of Ross’s letter, as a response from George Cohen(owner of McDonald’s Canada) states that unfortunately McDonald’s, at the time, said they would not come to Port Elgin as our population was not big enough. But a few years later they did come. Why?  Not because of our population number but because of the Bruce Nuclear Power Development.

I say take your “whistle blowing” and the minority of people who obviously did not realize the impact the nuclear industry had – and has on our community and please to do your homework before you react on conjecture and emotion. Deal in facts. Do your homework.

I can’t wait to see the positive impact this project and the people it will attract will have on our community today – tomorrow and for future generations!

So, those that are being negative and wondering why life isn’t going well for you – perhaps it’s your attitude. Negative begets negative. Because if my parents in 1968 thought like you did – I am sure these five decades later you would not have chosen to live here.

We are a better community and have reaped the rewards because of “Hydro”, Nuclear power and those residents that understood the benefits of welcoming such a project and looked to the future and welcomed change.  As someone who wants to stay in her hometown and is seeking employment – I say “YES!” to the Ontario Nuclear Innovation Institute becoming a reality in 2019.

Dianne “Mini” Jacques

Port Elgin Ontario