By Angela Hill
Saskatchewan Research Council has changed their plans on how to clean up a mine site after a neighbouring community voiced concerns.
“There were concerns that were expressed — people were worried about us burning the buildings, so we made the decision … not to proceed with the burn,” said Joe Muldoon, with SRC.
The concern was coming from the community residing in Uranium City, about the proposed plan to clean up old buildings at the Gunnar Mine site.
“We’ve got Métis here and we’ve got First Nations in the community here that are really concerned. We’ve got elders that are living here that are concerned. So there’s a big concern here with the community,” said Wayne Augier, who has lived in the community his whole life.
The fear was that asbestos contained within the buildings would be released into the air during burn and, with strong winds in the area, the contamination would blow towards the northern town, he said.
While the plans are undergoing revision, the demolition has already begun because that was a requirement from the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission when SRC accepted the clean-up task.
“They issued an order for the Saskatchewan Research Council to immediately begin taking down the buildings on the Gunnar Site based on public safety,” said Muldoon.
“So the reason we are on the Gunnar Site this year and will be on there next year as well, taking down those buildings is because we were ordered to do so by the Federal Regulators.”
While the buildings are coming down, Muldoon said the rubble will not be dealt with immediately.
“We’ll be looking at doing the kind of traditional demolition approach where the buildings will be knocked down and fenced off and covered,” he said.
“Once we are through the environmental (assessment) process and have approvals, we would then move forward to taking that rubble and disposing of the rubble in an appropriate manner.”
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