Pact signed as Ignace to decide on nuclear waste site in summer

By Sandi Krasowski
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
The Chronicle-Journal

Ignace council members unanimously passed a resolution on Monday that allows Mayor Kim Baigrie the authority to sign a historic potential hosting agreement between their township and the Nuclear Waste Management Organization.

Having just kicked the dust off their boots upon returning from a tour of Saskatchewan’s Cameco uranium mine, the Township of Ignace willingness committee, mayor and council members agreed that this is the next “logical step” in the process of deciding whether to host a deep geological repository near Ignace.

Jake Pastore, president of Summit PCG, who is assisting the town with inquiries about the Nuclear Waste Management Organization, said the agreement helps share information with the community as it moves towards willingness.

“The community really needs to understand the implications and its responsibilities in this process with the (Nuclear Waste Management Organization),” Pastore said, adding there’s compensation laid out in that agreement, there are legal components and there are communication protocols in there.

“But that agreement is only valid if Ignace gets through the willingness process with a ‘yes’ and Wabigoon Lake First Nation gets through their process with a ‘yes’, so there’s a lot of ifs.”

Pastore said they needed the agreement signed and shared with the community, because it could change the economic landscape of Ignace.

“The signing of this agreement in no way reflects a decision that’s been made or provides advice towards a decision by the township council or by the (Nuclear Waste Management Organization),” he said. “In other words, it doesn’t guarantee that Ignace is going to get the (deep geological repository) project but what it does is it just provides the municipality with the actual legal framework of moving forward.”

The next steps involve the willingness ad hoc committee sharing the information with the community and engaging the community on the agreement.

Pastore said it remains critical that opportunities be provided for Ignace residents to be engaged in the process, including with the Nuclear Exploration Event on April 12 and 13, as well as the work being conducted locally by With Chela Inc. and the willingness ad hoc committee.

The mayor and council have to be in a position to decide willingness sometime in mid-summer, he said. And Pastore said that as of Dec. 31, 2024, the Nuclear Waste Management Organization will have to decide where to build the deep geological repository.