LETTER — Dear Premier Clark,
“I think the rules need to be tightened up …. I think we are at a moment in history where the way things have always been done for 150 years is now banging up against a new public expectation …. [people are] saying ‘That’s not the way we want it to be done any more,’ ” Clark said in a video interview posted to The Sun’s website Thursday. (Gary Mason Globe & Mail, Friday, April 11) (Rob Shaw Vancouver Sun April 4).
How fitting these words are in regard to the 150-year-old Mineral Tenure Act. This act is also banging up against public expectation… the rights of the residents of communities to have a say on resource development in their communities, especially in the case of Kamloops, where the proposed Ajax Mine would be 1.5 km from the city’s newest elementary school, and newest homes.
In this example of “the way things have always been done for 150 years” 90,000 residents would be exposed to air, water, and noise pollution, for 1% of the city’s jobs. The medical health costs alone will be unaffordable as an increase of just one unit of PM2.5 will result in 11 deaths per year.
The Union of B.C. Municipalities Resolution B 80 requests that the Province of British Columbia undertake a broad-based public engagement process similar to that being used to amend B.C.’s Water Act and fairly engage First Nations and local governments to determine how best to modernize the Mineral Tenure Act and related legislation in a way that ensures the full range of interests – including social, cultural, ecological and economic – are given fair consideration on B.C.’s land base.
It is essential for the government of British Columbia to take immediate and decisive action on this important issue. Further development of mining projects close to municipalities, such as the proposed Ajax mine in Kamloops, need to be put on hold for a maximum of three years until changes to the Mineral Tenure Act are passed into law.
Your words, Ms. Clark, “I think the rules need to be tightened up… I think we are at a moment in history where the way things have always been done for 150 years is now banging up against a new public expectation … [people are] saying ‘That’s not the way we want it to be done anymore,’” need to be applied to the modernization of the Mineral Tenure Act.
If we are to believe what you say publicly, we need your support in acting upon the Union of B.C. Municipalities’ Resolution B 80. The revised Act MUST enshrine the rights of communities throughout B.C. to stop mining projects that will threaten citizens’ health and their environment.
We look forward to your reply.
MARY KAY & PHIL CLAYDON