At Monday January 27’s City Council meeting there were six and a half hours of delegations. 56 people registered to speak in front of the council.
Most of Monday’s delegations were about the BWXT Canada application to expand its license to allow for uranium pelleting at its Monaghan road location in Peterborough, as the deadline to comment on the license was at midnight that same night. After a break to discuss the procedures, all delegations were free to speak to all points on the licensing application. The community has responded with a number of safety concerns. One memorable argument was from Bill Templeman, who has talked about this issue on his radio show and podcast Pints and Politics, broadcasting through the facilities of Trent Radio 92.7 CFFF FM or TrentRadio.ca Thursdays at 7 p.m. this season. Templeman’s argument was that housing values would be negatively impacted, by using examples of the similar facilities in Toronto.
There were other delegations on other topics as well. Stacey Moore, who represented the Peterborough Girls Hockey Association, presented concerns with the closure of the Northcrest Arena. Moore stated that programs would be negatively impacted: fitness, well-being, and health would be reduced as some teams would have to be turned away. Moore said that they would have to wait until 2024 for an arena to be built, as there weren’t provincial or federal funds approved. Another argument was that tourism would be reduced. Councillor Garry Baldwin said that there is a recreational crisis in Peterborough.
Another recurring topic was the Centennial Fountain. Steve Keams’ delegation argued that it was being taken away, and that a historic monument should not be negotiated. It was proposed that it be shut off for two months, not the entire summer. Keams argued it was meant to beautify and provide pride for Peterborough. In addition, it would impact tourism. A few days before the meeting, Dylan Radcliffe tweeted a graph showing that cumulative emissions from the fountain was 88 tons of CO2 over seven years. Nico Ossa Williams said that it’s not up to business owners of the Lift Locks or the host of a successful radio program to tell us what’s right for our future.
On Thursday, January 30, Councillor Kim Zippel said that there is a carbon budget as well as a financial budget because a climate emergency was declared in September, and the “… reaction from the community demonstrates that change will be difficult.” Councillor Zippel also said that there are plans to work towards a collaborative solution that may also be unpopular. Councilor Dean Pappas said, “We can’t use climate change to leverage our arguments.” Councillor Pappas argued that actions should have an actual positive effect on climate. Councillor Kemi Akapo said, “We declared a climate emergency. You do things a little bit differently… We’re going to have to make tough decisions and they’re not always going to be popular.”
Also at Thursday’s meeting, there was a deferral to the closure of the Northcrest Arena. In addition to this, after an in-camera meeting Councilor Pappas said that the “health and welfare of the citizens of Peterborough are the responsibility of everyone around this table.”
Councilor Pappas argued that Peterborough should commit to BWXT, despite it being a federal issue due to health concerns. Mayor Diane Therrien said, “We would never put jobs before the safety and wellbeing, before our people and our environment.” Council passed a motion saying that they would send a letter to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) regarding BWXT’s license renewal.
Near the end of the meeting it was revealed that there were threats of violence against the council by Councillor Henry Clarke. Councilor Keith Riel said, “This is our workplace … we have to do a better job on educating what decorum is in our workplace.”