Jeff Green | Mar 06, 2008
Feature Article - March 6, 2008
Back toHomeFeature Article - March 6, 2008 Citizens Inquiry sets hearings for Sharbot LakeBy Jeff Green
The Concerned Citizens Against Mining Uranium (CCAMU) have set the schedule for a public inquiry on the impacts of the uranium cycle.
The inquiry came about as the result of the hunger strike staged by Lanark resident Donna Dillman last fall. Chief among Dillman’s demands was a public inquiry into all aspects of uranium mining, an inquiry that she hoped would set the stage for a moratorium on uranium mining and exploration in Eastern Ontario, and eventually, the entire province.
"It became clear that the Government of Ontario was not going to put a moratorium in place before they recessed for the Christmas holidays and wasn't listening to concerns around the exploration for uranium that is taking place in eastern Ontario. A team is in place and plans for the inquiry are well underway," stated Donna Dillman, as she resumed eating on December 13, after 68 days without food.
When the government did not agree to establish an inquiry, the CCAMU stepped in and said they would do it themselves.
Several organizations, including Greenpeace, Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, David Suzuki Foundation, Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility, Voice of Women, Mining Watch Canada, Students Against Climate Change and Sierra Club of Canada stepped forward to support a citizens' inquiry.
Organizations and members of the public are invited to participate in the inquiry, the scope of which is broad.
Among themes that will be up for discussion are several related to mining itself. These include: claim staking, exploration, mining, transportation, processing, waste, and uses (power generation, weapons, medical). The inquiry will also be considering issues such as public and environmental health and safety, social responsibility, economics, political responsibility, and community self-determination.
The citizens’ inquiry comes about as organizations from throughout eastern Ontario have been making their views known about the uranium project in North Frontenac, as well as projects near Bancroft, at Elliott Lake, and in the Outaouais that are in various stages of exploration.
The City of Ottawa has recently joined the City of Kingston, Frontenac County, Lanark County, the towns of Perth and Carleton Place, and Beckwith, Tay Valley, Lanark Highlands, North, South and Central Frontenac townships in calling for a moratorium on uranium mining and exploration.
The inquiry will be kicked off in Sharbot Lake on April 1, and will travel to three other locations later in April: Kingston (April 8), Peterborough (April 15), and finally Ottawa (April 22).
The inquiry will be accessible to citizens and experts alike. Presentations at the inquiry venues can be in a variety of forms and will be limited to 10minutes each. "Because people express their ideas in different ways, we're inviting people to communicate through narratives, poems, skits, and songs as well as with written submissions," said Dillman.
The Sharbot Lake hearing will be held at St. Andrews Anglican Church, 1028 Elizabeth Street, on April 1, and at Queen Street United Church (corner Clergy and Queen) in Kingston on April 8. Both hearings will run from 1-5 pm and 6-9 pm.
Information about the Peterborough and Ottawa hearings is available at www.uraniumcitizensinquiry.com.