Participant Funding Program Review Committee's Report
Regular Funding Envelope

Allocation of Funds for Participation in the Review Panel of the Former Gunnar Mine Site Rehabilitation Project

The Participant Funding Program (PFP) is designed to promote public participation in the evaluation and review process of projects which are subject to an environmental assessment (EA). The PFP was set up pursuant to the legislative provision contained in subsection 58(1.1) of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (the Act), which states: "For the purposes of this Act, the Minister shall establish a participant funding program to facilitate the participation of the public in comprehensive studies, mediations and assessments by review panels."

A Funding Review Committee (FRC), independent from the EA, was established to review funding applications and allocate up to $20,000 to applicants. On October 17, 2008, the FRC met to review four applications received by the PFP requesting a total of $50,115.25 to participate in the EA process for the Former Gunnar Mine Site Rehabilitation Project (the project). The FRC members were: Mr. Steve Chapman, Acting Associate Director of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency's (the Agency) acting as Committee Chairperson and Dr. George Kupfer, consultant.

Background

The Governments of Saskatchewan and of Canada have signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to address the Cold War Legacy Uranium Mine and Mill Sites in northern Saskatchewan. This agreement includes the rehabilitation of the former Gunnar mine site. Under the MOA, Saskatchewan Industry and Resources (SIR) has been assigned the responsibility to ensure that the project is carried out on behalf of the two governments. SIR has signed a contract with the Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC) to fulfill the role of project manager and designated agent to manage and perform the required EA requirements and rehabilitation activities.

On April 23, 2007, the SRC submitted a project proposal for the Gunnar site rehabilitation. The proposal includes the following components:

  • demolition of existing building, facilities and structures;
  • appropriate disposal of materials resulting from demolition;
  • installation of an appropriate cover on all or a portion of the exposed mill tailings;
  • rehabilitation of existing waste rock piles;
  • rehabilitation of additional risk(s) as warranted;
  • general site clean-up;
  • re-vegetation of areas of the rehabilitated site as required; and
  • appropriate monitoring during and after rehabilitation.

On September 2, 2008, the Agency announced the availability of up to $20,000 to facilitate public participation in this EA. The public had until October 6, 2008, to submit funding applications.

Eligibility

Individuals, Aboriginal groups and incorporated not-for-profit organizations who could demonstrate that they had met at least one of the following criteria were eligible for participant funding under the program:

  • have a direct, local interest in the project, such as living in or owning property in the project area;
  • have community knowledge or Aboriginal traditional knowledge relevant to the EA; or
  • plan to provide expert information relevant to the anticipated environmental effects of the project.

Parties that are for-profit; have a direct commercial interest in the project; or represent another level of government other than an Aboriginal government, were ineligible for participant funding.

All of the applicants were found to be eligible for funding.

Rationale for Allocation

The FRC found that the applications were well prepared. The activities proposed by each applicant differed greatly from one to the other. However, each applicant had legitimate concerns and expertise to bring to the EA. The FRC supported funding of activities which were within the scope of the EA. The focus of the work would be on reviewing the EA and providing written comments. Although all the applicants requested funding for travel, no public hearings were planned by the proponent and, therefore, no funding was allocated towards travel expenses. Furthermore, the FRC did not want to cut possible funds for a high priority expense category in favour of awarding possible funds for a lower priority expense category.

The FRC recommended the allocation of funding amounts that it deemed reasonable in light of the information provided in the applications, the substantial costs of undertaking technical reviews and analysis and the limited funding available.

Recommendation

The FRC recommends awarding a total $20,000 to the four applicants to participate in the EA process.

Decision

The Agency has accepted the FRC's recommendation.

General Comments

The FRC made this decision based on the information provided in the applications.

To share your comments or to obtain any additional information, please contact:

Ms. Suzanne Osborne
Manager, Participant Funding Program
Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency
Place Bell Canada
160 Elgin Street, 22nd Floor
Ottawa ON K1A 0H3
Telephone: 613-957-0254
e-mail: Suzanne.Osborne@ceaa-acee.gc.ca

Dated: October 17, 2008

The Participant Funding Review Committee
Former Gunnar Mine Site Rehabilitation Project

________________________
Dr.George Kupfer, Consultant

________________________
Mr. Steve Chapman, Committee Chairperson
Acting Assistant Director of the Agency

Rocommended Participant Funding Awards
Former Gunnar Mine Site Rehabilitation Project

Applicant Total amount approved
Inter-Church Uranium Committee Educational Co-operative $ 8,200
Dennis W. Lawson $ 1,000
Brian R. Clavier $ 2,800
Prince Albert Grand Council $ 8,000

Document Reference Number: 10

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