[ RadSafe ] " Port Hope responds to LLRW survey "

Franta, Jaroslav frantaj at aecl.ca
Thu Dec 15 09:31:06 CST 2005

Port Hope responds to LLRW survey
Port Hope Evening Guide, Tue 13 Dec 2005 
Karen Lloyd

To most Port Hope residents, low-level radioactive waste is still the
biggest issue facing their community. 

But according to the results of a public attitude survey conducted in
October, which polled 351 Ward 1 and Ward 2 residents, the public is more
confident than ever that historic waste can be managed safely for the long
term. The results also show a marked increase in awareness of the Port Hope
Area Initiative, says project communications officer Sue Stickley. 

"We got a very good response to the calls," she said, pointing out that
unlike the previous three annual surveys, many people were willing and eager
to respond. 

The survey, conducted by IntelliPulse, a public affairs and marketing
research firm, engaged by the the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management
Office (LLRWMO) made 2,455 calls to get the number of responses it required.
The first public attitudes survey conducted in 2001 required pollsters to
call more 10,000 residents in order to get 500 responses. 

"Fewer calls to conduct a survey is indicative that people are becoming more
and more confident and aware," said Ms. Stickley. 

In fact 79 per cent of them said they knew at least something about
radioactive waste in their community. 

Yet living in a community dealing with LLRW is not something many residents,
less than 30 per cent, appear to dwell on. 

But not dwelling on the issue doesn't mean they do not consider it

Similar to 2004, 29 per cent of them identify the presence of this historic
waste as a key issue facing the community. The same percentage feels it
contributes to a negative image. However, satisfaction with living in Port
Hope remains high. Over 90 per cent of those polled report being very or
somewhat satisfied with living here. 

They say it's a quiet community with friendly people. They enjoy the
scenery, and say the downtown area is "wonderful." 

When asked what they liked least about the community, some said the presence
of LLRW. But concerns also included taxes, their proximity to Northumberland
Hills Hospital located in Cobourg and according to one respondent, "There's
nothing I don't like about it." 

While confident that the waste can be safely managed at the proposed
facility -- located north of Highway 401 west of Baulch road -- they still
have concerns that include, the proximity of community, the transportation
of the waste and whether the management site will safely store the waste. 

One person said, "I don't have any fears about it. We're all going to go
Another person said, "The next generation could forget about it or neglect
it and things will start to corrode." 

The most frequently mentioned concerns relate to public health and safety,
transportation, protection against environmental contamination and safely
containing the waste. 

The purpose of this annual survey is to find out how knowledgeable residents
are about the initiative to manage the waste, to identify and track public
issues and concerns and to assess the LLRWMO's performance in meeting the
community's needs. 

The results of the survey will be studied by LLRWMO staff and applied to
community programs and newsletters to better inform residents. 

"We want to deal with the issues the public is interested," said Ms.
Stickley, adding they want to be informed, they want the facility, when it's
built, to be monitored, and they want to continue to provide the the LLRWMO
with their input. 

Analysis of the survey responses indicates that the more knowledgeable
people are, the more confident they are about the project, and keeping them
informed is exactly what the LLRWMO intends to do. 

Over the past four years, more and more residents appear to feel the LLRWMO
does a "very good" or "good" job of addressing their questions. 

Over four-fifths of the respondents said they are satisfied with the
accessibility of the information and the manner in which they are able to
provide input. Eighty-five per cent say their input was considered at least
partially by the LLRWMO. 

The poll also found that both the LLRWMO and independent scientists are the
preferred sources for reliable information about the Port Hope Area

The complete public attitude surveys can be reviewed at the new location of
the Project Information Exchange at 196 Toronto Road in Port Hope. From 1 to
5 p.m. Monday to Friday visitors can drop-in, discuss their views and pick
up information on the Port Hope Area Initiative. 


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