A Pinehouse elder is objecting to some comments that were made at a nuclear regulatory hearing in Saskatoon.

The hearing was in regards to an application by Cameco to acquire a 10-year licence for the Cigar Lake mine.

Fred Pederson says he was disturbed to hear local official Vince Natomagan say people voicing opposition to the nuclear industry were a fringe group and “not necessarily lifelong members of our community”.

Pederson says there are “many, many” residents who object to the plans being pushed forward by the nuclear industry:

“Well, we can put it this way here . . . when we took the petitions when the nuclear waste industry first showed up in Pinehouse and these guys started pushing to have it to be a host, that we had 60% of the voting population saying ‘no’.”

He adds the village shouldn’t be listening to officials with the nuclear industry who don’t even live in the community:

“Well, these people that are representatives for NWMO that don’t even live in the northern country at all, and a lot of them they don’t even come from this province.  So, I cannot see why we are being picked on.  As for myself, I’m not what you call a ‘lifelong’ resident. I moved here in 1974 and I’ve been here since.”

Pederson says many village members weren’t able to get down to the hearing in Saskatoon due to the distance involved.

He says many people also couldn’t watch the hearing because they don’t have access to the Internet.

Pederson says a petition with 22,000 signatures has already been sent to the Saskatchewan Legislature objecting to a proposal to store nuclear waste near the community.