SOUTHAMPTON — A grassroots group opposed to having high-level nuclear waste buried along the shores of this Lake Huron community will stage its second annual protest walk on the Canada Day weekend.
The walk’s purpose “is to re-engage the community with this issue and to keep pressure on council,” said Pat Gibbons, a member of Save Our Saugeen Shores, a local citizens’ group.
Last year’s walk during the same weekend drew more than 500 residents as well as tourists who gravitate to this area during the summer.
It was the largest protest to be held in any of the 21 communities across Canada that are vying to host an underground repository that will store all of the country’s most radioactive waste.
The group hopes this year’s protest will be larger, Gibbons said. It will start at the flagpole in Southampton at 11 a.m. on Saturday.
So far, the group has about 2,500 signatures on their petition.
Mike Smith, mayor of Saugeen Shores — which consists of the towns of Southampton and Port Elgin — said the community is split on the issue. Some residents say it would create jobs and others say it would decrease property values.
Smith said even the town’s nine councillors are split on the issue, with some publicly saying if they had to vote today on the project, “they would vote no.”
Smith, a retired 34-year employee of the Bruce plant, said he’s undecided on the project.
“I want to learn more about it,” he said.
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