| Mar 12, 2009

Back to HomeFeature Article - March 12, 2009 New blood Gives life to uranium  resistanceBy Julie Druker

A large crowd of new and old faces discuss uranium exploration at Maberly meeting

After a hiatus of many months, local community groups and concerned citizens joined forces at the Maberly Hall on March 8 to discuss the ongoing issue of uranium exploration at the Robertsville mine site. The meeting was called by Sulyn Cedar, who felt a need to get together and discuss the issues and to find out where everyone now stands. Though related websites have managed to keep the issues up to date, a formal meeting has not happened for quite a while.

Present at Sunday’s meeting were some who have been involved since the issue began, including Bob Lovelace, Mireille Lapointe, Donna Dillman, members of the Community Coalition Against Mining Uranium (CCAMU) and many other concerned citizens.

Dillman commented before the meeting, “From my perspective we’re hoping to get more people involved. A lot of people have put literally thousands of hours into this and it would be really great to get more people involved”.

New to the meeting and of note was a large contingent of students from the Ottawa area. Bob Lovelace had spoken the week before to a group of Ottawa students, which no doubt resulted in this high turnout. Also of note were recent settlers to the area looking to explore the uranium issue.

A few of the new faces included Ramsey Hart of Mining Watch Canada, Nancy Ducette ,who works for the Centre for Sustainable Watersheds on Big Rideau Lake, and Rev. Gary Jones, one of two newly appointed ministers of the Centary Pastoral Charge, which includes the United Church in Maberly.

Throughout the close to 70 introductions, many of the long-term key players confirmed a growing public awareness around the Robertsville uranium issue.

Bob Lovelace, recently back from a world conference in Toronto commented, “Two things struck me when I was there: First people know about this area and the issues and we’re on the front line of a really important struggle. And second, they believe we have accomplished a tremendous amount already. And that reminds me that this is true”.

Mireille Lapointe, co-chief of the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation, confirmed the feelings of a growing awareness. She stated, “We are known all over the world right now for all of this work that each and every one of us have done. There is a ground swell that is building. It takes a long, long time for things to seep into the public consciousness, but it’s getting there”. She added, “Even though Frontenac Ventures has drilled some holes, it’s not over; we’re still here and they still have to meet us”.

Linda Harvey, a retired family physician who lives in the area, has been researching the effects of radiation on human tissue. “This is not a backyard issue. The pathways that this contamination takes is through the biosphere, through every organism on the planet, every organic molecule in our bodies”.

Following the introductions, facilitator Randy Weekes joked that he was ready to end the meeting and call it a victory due to the impressive turn out. Instead, he and co-facilitator Christine Perringer got down to business and outlined the plan of the meeting, which included raising questions, defining needs and generating ideas. A brief summary of what’s happened so far was given by Donna Dillman (For a history go to Uranium Mining in North Frontenac at www.frontenacnews.ca).

Other issues raised included: power relationships between government and the aboriginal community, political support around the issue, the current mining act and the agreement that the Shabot group made with the government and Frontenac Ventures.

Suggestions and new ideas were brainstormed and after time ran out it was agreed that another meeting should be held soon.

Sulyn Cedar was thrilled with the turnout. “Retired professionals and students can be the backbone of a social movement. There are diverse skills and interests and a lot of intelligence. You saw a real commitment with the people here today to keep the uranium mine away”.

When asked about his plans from here on in, Bob Lovelace answered, “The Ardoch Algonquin First Nation will continue to resist the (uranium) exploration and to petition mining and we will stick to our strategy of community education and research and direct action and continue to work with other groups and do what we can to stop it”.

CCAMU’s website is www.ccamu.ca or www. uranium defence.ca 

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