BROCKTON – Although the highlight of the Finland trip being put on by the Nuclear Waste Management Organization the first week in July is the visit to that country’s Onkalo underground facility for spent nuclear fuel, Bruce County Warden Chris Peabody has another key interest.

“I’m looking forward to talking to the mayors in neighbouring towns to see the impacts of construction,” he said. 

That will happen the day after the visit to the deep underground repository (DGR).

Peabody’s interest is both on behalf of the entire county, and as mayor of Brockton, adjacent to the proposed DGR location in South Bruce. 

He has stated in previous interviews that should South Bruce – one of two sites in the running for the DGR – be selected as the host community, Bruce County infrastructure and services would be deeply affected by the construction process, everything from roads that would need to be upgraded, to hospitals and emergency medical services. In essence, a decades-long mining operation would be taking place.

Finland is years ahead of Canada in the DGR process. The Onkalo facility is in Olkiluoto, off the southwest coast of Finland, near one of the country’s nuclear plants.

Peabody noted that while he’s in Finland, an important meeting of Bruce County council is taking place. On the agenda will be a vote on whether to pay for an engineering firm to investigate additional options for the Durham Street bridge replacement project – namely, a location for a temporary bridge just to the north of the present site, where the Saugeen River is a bit narrower than at the Orange-McNab location that’s been proposed. Whether it’s narrow enough to allow a single span, with no need for a centre pier, has yet to be determined. Peabody has also asked Bruce County to look at the possibility of a wooden replacement bridge, which would take substantially less time than 18 months to construct.

Peabody noted that the vote at council on July 6 would not be to choose an option, but to cover the cost of investigating other options.

Brockton’s deputy mayor, James Lang, will be representing the municipality at the Bruce County council meeting in Peabody’s absence.

Peabody also commented on an issue that arose at the June 23 meeting of the Grey Bruce Board of Health. The province has launched a new mobile mental health service in Perth, Huron and Bruce counties – a van that will bring mental health care to rural areas. 

“It’s meant to serve the farm community,” Peabody said.

He said a meeting of health-care stakeholders – which would include both the Grey-Bruce and Huron-Perth health units – is being planned for later this week.

Peabody said he thinks the new service is “an excellent idea,” considering that until now, most mental health services for Grey-Bruce have been centralized in Owen Sound. He added that he’s pleased to see Bruce County residents being served by both the Medavie van project and Grey-Bruce Support Outreach Service.

By Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Jun 30, 2023 at 07:35

This item reprinted with permission from   The Herald-Times   Walkerton, Ontario
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