Clarington hosting public meeting on next steps for Port Granby Project

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Published February 24, 2022 at 1:37 pm

The public is invited to hear about the future of the Port Granby Project, a federal government clean-up of radioactive waste on the shores of Lake Ontario near the Clarington-Northumberland County border.

The Public Information Centre will be held March 3 at 7 p.m. (www.clarington.net/PortGranbyMeeting) for residents to learn more about the solutions and next steps for the local roads and about a future nature preserve in the Port Granby area.

The nuclear waste, which originated from the Eldorado uranium refining operation in Port Hope, which operated from the 1930s to 1988, has now been capped and closed in an engineered storage mound on the site. About 1.3 million tonnes of radioactive waste and contaminated soil was moved in the five-year operation.

With the waste safely capped and stored, the next step is the Port Granby Nature Reserve, a collaborative vision and strategy by the Municipality of Clarington, Municipality of Port Hope, Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority (GRCA) and the community.

Just 95 hectares of the 270-hectare site are under licence to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and the remaining 270 hectares are considered surplus. Proponents of the natures reserve want Ottawa to transfer ownership of those lands to local agencies for ecological restoration and preservation.

The Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority would be the lead agency for the planting and management of the nature reserve lands, implemented through a partnership agreement and governance structure. The governance structure would include an Advisory Committee to be responsible for overseeing the management of the Port Granby Nature Reserve. This will allow government agencies, first nations, non-governmental groups and the public to participate.

To date, the federal government has not provided a clear indication of what will happen with the surplus lands.

Port Granby Project: 1.3 million tonnes of nuclear waste, capped and closed

Clarington is also undertaking a Schedule ‘B’ Municipal Class Environmental Assessment (EA) to investigate how the local transportation network can best serve the community as the Port Granby Project enters end use operations.

Currently, Elliott Road from Concession Road 1 to the facility entrance is leased to the federal government. At the end of the lease, Clarington can request removal of the road between the facility and Concession Road 1, initiate closure of the road or re-establish the road as a public highway. The Municipality needs to make this decision within the context of safe continued operation and end-use of the Port Granby facility, as well as the future role of Elliott Road, south of the facility; the future role of Nichols Road, on the east side; the potential use of the surrounding lands as a Nature Reserve; and emergency access requirements for the Port Granby Waste Water Treatment Plant.

The public information centre will review background information on the study, review and discuss the proposed solutions and learn about the next steps in this study.

The meeting will include a virtual presentation and will end with a question and answer period. Residents and interested parties can also submit comments on the project web page by March 17 or contact the project managers.

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