Sheenboro gets half-million for emergency plan Chalk River prepares for a disaster

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Peter L. Smith


Peter L. Smith

SHEENBORO – Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL), Chalk River,  is funding municipalities within its “primary (disaster) zone” (9 km radius), and Sheenboro is on the list.  The February, 2017 agreement will fund about half a million dollars for “preparations” for a radioactive disaster. The agreement includes a committee of the municipality, CNL, MRC Pontiac, the provincial police and the Ministry of Health.  Discussions of disaster preparations have been underway for several years.
Last February’s agreement brought funding up to $520,000 for improvements
to Sheenboro’s Emergency Preparedness Plan and communications infrastructure.   The Plan will also help about 1,500 ZEC residents who have camps on Esher Lake and the beach opposite CNL.
Sheenboro has purchased a Ranger 900 closed cab ATV side-by-side with tracks, plus a trailer, from Lepine’s Polaris in Chichester to be used for off-road emergencies. The Sûreté de Québec will have emergency access to this equipment. CNL has also provided a surplus zodiac boat and trailer to the municipality.
Sheenboro has also used some funds to improve its wharf and to purchase two generators, one for the CLSC/Municipal Office in Chapeau and one for the Municipal Office inSheenboro.  Communication radios for the Pontiac Ouest Fire Safety Service have also been purchased.
Signs were installed at the ZEC entrances, and Xplornet Satellite Service was supplied to the ZEC building, as well as computers for the municipal council and Sheen’s Emergency Control Centre, at the municipal office. Frank Michaud Construction on L’Isle-aux-Allumettes will erect a storage structure this year to house the new equipment.
Thanks to the CNL funding, neighbouring municipalities of Chichester and L’Isle-aux-Allumettes were able to up-grade their off-road Disaster Emergency Plan.
Residents have not yet been informed of the official emergency plan, which would give them instructions about how they would be informed, or what they should do in case of a disaster at the CNL site.
Despite rumours that CNL was expecting support from the recipients of this funding, Sheenboro Council passed a motion to conditionally oppose CNL’s plan for a radioactive waste dump at Perch Lake, close to the Ottawa River. The MRC has passed a similar motion.