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  • Pinehouse Lake moves to Step 3 in NWMO process

    The Settlement of Pinehouse Lake decided to move to Step 3 in the Nuclear Waste Management Organization’s (NWMO) Adaptive Phased Management project, the creation and development and construction of a Deep Geologic Repository (DGR) for the long-term management spent nuclear waste.

    The decision was made during a municipal meeting held Monday, March 19 and the motion was passed at their Council meeting on Thursday, March 29, said Mike Natomagan, mayor of Pinehouse Lake, in an interview with The Northerner.

    The meeting was held to “talk about the NWMO and why we are going to Step 3.”

    Although there is opposition in the community, Natomagan said, “There are reasons why we want to learn more. If we can use that benefit to find out more about our internal needs.”

    There are concerns that even if the community says no to the project in the future it will still be built in the community, but Natomagan said, that is not the case.

    The community is looking to use the benefits of the process to “move on” as part of a process to look to a healthier and more economically sound future, because poverty and welfare are not the answers for the community’s future, Natomagan said.

    “The status quo ain’t good enough here … welfare is not always going to be here and there’s no hope in welfare.” The process is ongoing, as the community has studied such documents as the Eric Howe study on the educational gaps between Aboriginal people and mainstream society in the north. The Health Indicator Report is also another document under perusal in the Pinehouse Lake process. “There is gaps there and we need to address it.” Concerns for the sustainable future of the community include health, education and housing, Natomagan said. “The poverty issue, that’s the bottom line. Kids need a better opportunity than this. Statistics show 51 per cent of kids live in poverty and for us locally, people in the community, you think they read books to their kids? No, they’re more worried about how do I get the next meal.”

    Inviting industry is one of the solutions he sees as part of the solution. “We need industry in the north for Aboriginal people to have hope.”

    The move to Step 3 involves a deeper desktop-type study of the area.

    The project is part of the community’s exploration into the future, not only for Pinehouse Lake, but the whole north.

    Approximately 44 people attended the meeting to discuss the decision.

    Mike Krizanc, communications manager for the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) outlined information on the move from Step 2 to Step 3 in an interview with The Northerner when Creighton and English River First Nation decide to move to Step 3. The following includes information provided in that interview.

    Step 3 is “a continuation of Step 2” which has two phases.

    The first phase of Step 3 includes “more socio-economic studies to assess the potential income of the repository on the community in terms of

    Valerie G. Barnes-Connell


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