QUEEN’S PARK—On Wednesday, Essex MPP and NDP Community Safety critic Taras Natyshak demanded that the Wynne Liberals do more to help southwestern Ontario towns like Amherstburg prepare for an emergency situation at the nearby U.S. Fermi 2 nuclear generating station.
The 2017 Auditor General’s report revealed that the Wynne government is skirting its responsibility to fund emergency preparedness in municipalities located near out-of-province nuclear facilities. While host communities of in-province nuclear power plants like Pickering receive assistance with the pre-distribution of thyroid blocking pills (KI pills), practice tests, and emergency management, municipalities located near out-of-province nuclear generators do not receive nearly the same level of provincial support.
During question period, Natyshak called on the Wynne government to finally provide the same level of emergency support to the Town of Amherstburg that other designated municipalities receive.
“The Auditor General’s report made it alarmingly clear that this Liberal government is not prepared to manage a major emergency in this province,” said Natyshak. “The AG highlighted that emergency management plans haven’t been updated since 2008 and that provincial nuclear emergency preparedness planning hasn’t been updated since 2009. The province has been aware since November 2015 that, in the event of a nuclear accident at the Fermi 2 facility, the town of Amherstburg does not have the equipment, the personnel, the expertise or the capacity to appropriately respond to such an event.”
“When will the Liberal government provide the same level of support to the town of Amherstburg as it does for other designated municipal areas that receive assistance in Ontario?” asked Natyshak.
Natyshak was later joined by Amherstburg Fire Chief Bruce Montone and Deputy Fire Chief Lee Tome for a press conference at Queen’s Park. The Fermi nuclear generating station is located approximately 16 km away from the Town of Amherstburg. The City of Windsor, Essex County and Town of Amherstburg have all passed motions calling for stronger nuclear emergency response.
“Local leaders have been speaking out for years—calling for the Liberal government to finally wake up and realize that they are leaving southwestern Ontario municipalities to fend for themselves should catastrophe strike. It’s time for the Wynne government to finally take responsibility for emergency management and provide southwestern Ontario communities with the support they need.”