Strong, sustainable, and balanced growth possibilities are ahead for South Bruce says NWMO

Over the summer, the NWMO and the Municipality of South Bruce published and presented several socio-economic studies. These studies are important to get a picture of how Canada’s deep geological repository could influence the future in South Bruce, should it be the site for the project. By building a thorough understanding of the project’s potential impacts, we can work diligently to mitigate risks – and more importantly, leverage opportunities for a prosperous and thriving community.

The studies considered a number of opportunities, including how to revitalize downtowns, improve infrastructure, build new housing developments and foster strong and stable growth of the local economy.

Overall, the findings of the studies are encouraging and build a strong case that the project could provide the multi-generational foundation on which to build a thriving future.

Take the newly released study on economic development, which outlines how the project could bolster the local economy. Specifically, new opportunities could emerge across the supply chain in commercial and residential construction, equipment manufacturing and maintenance, and more. The NWMO has committed to developing a local procurement plan. All in, this would provide a steady stream of revenue in the local economy.

Imagine South Bruce as an investment destination, a place where smart and innovative local graduates want to stay because the opportunities are right here at home. The NWMO will need people with science, technical, engineering and mathematics (STEM) backgrounds, and trades in areas like labour, heavy machinery, mechanical and electrical maintenance.

Of course, we know any conversation about the region’s economy must include local farmers. The agricultural roots in this region are deep and agriculture makes up the highest proportion of business. It is clearly integral to the local and regional economy and we know that safety – of people and the environment – are top of mind for everyone working on a farm.

Fortunately, we have many examples not only here in Bruce County but right around the world, of the nuclear industry working safely alongside agricultural operations. Internationally, agricultural operations have co-existed without problems beside nuclear power plants for decades, as well as near used nuclear fuel storage facilities. Australia’s National Nuclear Waste Storage Facility and France’s Centre de L’Aube are just two examples.

Both the agricultural land surrounding the site itself and the Centre of Expertise could create new opportunities. Approximately 250 acres of the overall 1,750-acre site will be taken up by surface facilities to support the placement of used fuel underground. The remainder of the site can continue to be used for agricultural production. The NWMO has committed to provide training and capacity building initiatives in areas of technology innovation, farming best practices, environmental protection and helping small and medium farmers market their niche farming products to local markets and vendors.

We have already begun to see what it would mean to implement this national environmental infrastructure project in the South Bruce area, home to one of two areas being considered. Through these peer-reviewed community studies, we have tangible results that show the real and responsible possibilities of the project.

And it is important to note each of these reports address the guiding principles that reflect the community’s expectations for the project, and guide engagement between the NWMO and the municipality. The 36 guiding principles, focus on safety for people and the environment, and ensure the project will bring meaningful benefits to the community.

The possibilities that could come to life, right here in the South Bruce area, are just beginning to take shape.