Shock and disbelief was the reaction of about 150 landholders who attended a meeting at the Kam Community Centre in reaction to proposed notices of expropriation for the Waasigan Transmission Line by Hydro One. Most were unaware that a transmission line was even being contemplated and this meeting was their first information. The failure of Hydro One to do proper consultation with rural residents along the 350 kilometres from Mackenzie to Dryden is appalling.
Michelle Rosetta Hamer was the meeting organizer who invited attendees to submit personal narratives as to how the transmission line would affect them. Jim Hyder spoke about the need to get organized and a call was made to strike a steering committee with many of the participants signing on indicating their skill sets. David Eryou, a lawyer and former surveyor was knowledgeable about electromagnetic radiation and to how the threat is magnified when transmission lines were built in parallel. Notably absent from the meeting was Kevin Holland MPP, Thunder Bay, Atikokan and any representation from Hydro One who had been invited to attend.
Many, in tears were mortified. Often properties are inter generational and when the homesteads are demolished the historical ties to the land are shattered. Too many, trades persons who go away to work or drive long haul, their homes are an oasis for their families. Others had undertaken construction during covid to upgrade existing dwellings or build new homes for retirement. Their dreams, broken, of happily going into old age with property to pass on to their children. Even if the homes are back from the right of way, the noise from ski doos and four wheelers, are already a problem and will only increase. A big fear in the public is the possibility of cancer from electro magnetic radiation from power lines.
This woeful lack of consultation and understanding by Hydro One needs to be addressed. There needs to be:
- an independent citizens review of the proposed Waasigan Transmission Line
- intervenor funding from Hydro One to carry our such a review
- cessation of all activities of expropriation until such a review can be completed Energy planning in Northern Ontario has run amok. Just yesterday, the 25th of January, 2023 on Ontario Today, the reiteration of plans by the Premier, Doug Ford to send nuclear plants north, were repeated. The Russians are long ahead of us. They have so called small floating muskeg (taiga) reactors. Dissidents tell us that about one third of Siberian rivers and fish are now radioactively contaminated.
The Waasigan Transmission Line will run close to the deep underground dump (DUD) being sited west of Ignace. Is this also to be a location for a nuclear power plant? 18 sites have been withdrawn for the Nuclear Waste Management Organization from Blind River to Ignace. Why are their so many withdrawals and what is their intended use? It's time Minister Rickford of the Minister of Northern Development and Mines came clean.
More important, the need for a Northern Ontario Energy Board is long overdue. Northerners should be in charge of our own energy planning not some guy from Queen's Park. The outrage expressed at Kam River Recreation Centre has just started.
An interactive map of the proposed Waasigan Transmission Line is available at: https://www.hydroone.com/about/corporate-information/major-projects/waasigan