Update from Council Regarding Port Hope Clean Up Project

print-logo November 06, 2019

An Update from Council Regarding the Clean-up Project in the Municipality of Port Hope

Most members of the community are aware of the federally funded Port Hope Area Initiative (PHAI) Project, which is currently underway in the Municipality of Port Hope.

Project updates are provided by PHAI staff at Council meetings on a quarterly basis. At the meeting on September 17, 2019, an update was presented to Council, which outlined the work completed to date, the work-in-progress, and the challenges that have been identified, as part of this substantial and unique undertaking. During the meeting, PHAI staff also introduced the concept of partial remediation (not a full clean-up of low level radioactive waste) of properties, and indicated that it was being considered as a possible option for those affected by the remediation and to manage expectations of property owners.

It is important to note that Municipal Staff and Council have not yet received sufficient information from PHAI to fully evaluate partial remediation as a Project option. Thus, on a preliminary basis, it is the Municipality’s position at this time that partial remediation is not consistent with the current legal agreement between Canada and the Municipality. While the Municipality acknowledges that this option is being suggested as a way to find balance and offer residents more choice, information about what partial remediation will mean for current and future land owners with contaminated properties, and for the community at large, has not yet been explained or determined. For this reason, partial remediation is not being endorsed by the Municipality at this time. As it stands, the Municipality, in keeping with the original intent of the Project for the community, will require the PHAI to fully remediate municipal lands, wherever possible.

While the Municipality respects the rights of individual property owners to make decisions that they consider in their best interests with respect to the cleanup of low level radioactive waste, the Municipality will continue to seek clarification from the PHAI staff, particularly on the questions and issues listed below, with respect to the concept of partial remediation, and encourages property owners to do the same:

  • Ability for property owners to sell their property, without a CNL issued compliance letter certifying property as being free of low level radioactive waste
  • Ability for property owners to continue to qualify for mortgages and insurance where low level radioactive waste is left behind
  • Property owners’ ability and financial capacity to seek legal advice prior to signing any agreement regarding a partial remediation
  • Potential for a property owner to be liable for any future removal and disposal of contaminated waste
  • Considerations related to the impact of contamination left behind potentially transferring onto neighbouring properties

The Municipality continues to support the Project and Council looks forward to its continued collaboration with the PHAI, as they work through Project delivery and the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.

For questions related to partial remediation, please contact the Port Hope Area Initiative (PHAI) at 905-885-0291.