The City of Dryden is set to receive just under $1 million from Canada’s Nuclear Waste Management Organization.

The NWMO is still in the process of deciding between the Ignace and Wabigoon Lake area or the South Bruce community to host its $23 billion deep geological nuclear waste storage facility, with a decision expected by next year.

But while the process is continuing, the NWMO has been working with communities interested in learning more about the project, and as Dryden is only about 40 kilometres away from the potential project site, the city has been identified as a Significant Neighbouring Community.

This means that Dryden has been able to access funding through the NWMO over the last eight years, which has totalled about $1.5 million. Now, heading into 2022, the city is expecting to receive an additional $980,424 to fund a number of community resources.

They include Dryden’s Youth Centre, youth and student positions, general operating expenses and salary allocations for municipal staff and city councillors.

The funds are broken down as:

- Economic Development Manager, an existing position that’s partially funded by the NWMO,
- Special Projects and Communications Manager,
- Junior Planner,
- Youth Leadership Intern and youth/student positions,
- Legal counsel and professional communication support,
- Salary allocation for municipal staff and council to cover involvement in NWMO initiatives,
- Travel and training expenses,
- Operating expenses,
- Youth Centre support,
- Learning engagement initiatives for municipal leadership, staff and stakeholders,
- Municipal strategic planning and capacity building.

City councillors say they recognize the importance for Dryden residents and leadership to learn more about the proposed facility, as well as the positive and negative impacts it could bring.

But councillors stress that the funding does not mean that the City of Dryden supports the project or supports the selection of Ignace as the final host community. It only aims to help municipal leadership learn more about the project.

The funding is set to be approved at Dryden’s January 24 Council meeting.

The NWMO says borehole drilling in the Ignace area wrapped up earlier this year. Geologists will be studying the six kilometres of rock will be studied around the world to ensure it’s a good fit to safely contain and isolate Canada’s used nuclear fuel roughly 500 metres underground.

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If approved and completed, the facility would be one of the first of its kind around the world. Only Finland and Sweden have similar facilities, with France not too far behind them.

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The project’s timeline states the repository would be built by 2033 with operations beginning in 2043, after being approved by the federal government back in 2010. 

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