Senior leadership in Dryden says funding from the Nuclear Waste Management Organization could lead to an outdoor event space, as well as help to fund a number of positions and initiatives throughout the community. 

Council is set to vote on accepting the NWMO’s Significant Neighbouring Community Funding Agreement and their Near-Term Investment Funding Agreement tonight at City Hall – worth about $3.2 million over the next two years. 

At a Committee of the Whole meeting earlier this month, Chief Administrative Officer, Roger Nesbitt, laid out several items the two funding agreements could support - if passed.

One project Nesbitt specifically mentioned was potentially contracting architectural and municipal engineering services to find a design and location for an eventual outdoor event space for the community. 

Other projects include:

- Support for Dryden’s Youth Centre,
- Municipal strategic planning, development and marketing, 
- A fully funded Special Projects Manager position with the city,
- A partially funded Economic Development Manager and Junior planner,
- Two student employee positions,
- Legal counsel and communication support services, 
- General operating expenses and staff wages,

Overall, the $3.2 million of funding is broken down as just over $1.2 million from the 2023 Learn More funding program 2023 and $2 million from the Near-Term Investment allotment – as long as projects can be identified in six months and all funds are spent by the end of 2024.

Nesbitt explains the funds will also help the city create two new reserve funds for the future, including the Community Wellbeing fund and the Near-Term Investment fund, which could be spent towards a variety of initiatives moving forward.

Once again, the city’s CAO stressed that just because Dryden accepts these funds from the NWMO – it does not constitute support for the possible nuclear waste repository project in Ignace. 

The NWMO has been working to identify a site for a $23 billion deep-geological nuclear waste storage facility that would hold Canada's used nuclear waste in a 500-metre underground facility since 2010. It would be one of the first of its kind ever created and a decision is expected in 2024.

It’s been a two-horse race to determine the facility’s final location for years now, down to Ignace in northwestern Ontario and Huron-Bruce in southern Ontario. The NWMO is leading the site selection process, with support and direction from the federal government.

Since 2014, Nesbitt says the community’s been able to leverage about $2.4 million from the NWMO, which could grow to about $5.6 million if these funding agreements are accepted.

Tonight’s council meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. at City Hall. You can watch the meeting HERE.