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WALSH – Bigger venue needed for consultant’s report on Ajax proposal

WE NEED to prepare for citizen involvement in the final report by SLR Consulting.

There was a huge interest and public turnout just over a year ago when SLR went public with its early review of KGHM’s Ajax application.

All indications point to  another tsunami of attention for which we might want to start planning when the final SLR review results are made public in the near future.

Coun. Denis Walsh.

It is crucial that an appropriate venue and adequate preparations are in place to encourage and support public interest in what SLR has found, for it could be a large factor in determining the future of Kamloops.

On March 18, 2016, SLR Consulting presented its preliminary findings to the public and KGHM in the Grand Hall at Thompson Rivers University. It was estimated that upwards of 600 residents attended to hear the findings from the city-hired consultants.

SLR at that time raised many questions and highlighted numerous deficiencies with the 18,000-page application submitted by KGHM and its consultants.

By September 2016, the environmental services supervisor for the city said SLR Consulting would need about $200,000 more to finish its review of the application for the proposed copper and gold mine south of Aberdeen. He cited at the time delays in the Ajax assessment process and difficulties in getting information from the company, noting the review was going over the budget allocated to SLR.

Council voted to provide the additional funds after deciding it was a high priority to get as much objective evaluation of the complex and voluminous information in the application as possible.

Now, almost 14 months after the initial presentation, the SLR report is nearing completion and is ready to be publicly presented. However, after all this considerable effort and significant investment by the city, I am concerned the public will not be adequately able to participate in the SLR presentation.

Current thinking at City Hall is that a small presentation in council chambers with video feed to local cable will be adequate to meet the community’s need for information and involvement.

However, given the public’s longstanding interest in the proposed Ajax project and the considerable interest in the initial report by SLR, I believe it is imperative a venue that can accommodate all those who are interested in attending be made available.

In addition, I feel if the public has questions they should also be given a venue that would allow the SLR consultants to explain their findings.

The residents of this city are those with the most at stake concerning Ajax, their tax dollars have paid for this review, and they need to be fully involved in understanding the findings brought forward by SLR Consulting.

Denis Walsh is a  Kamloops councillor. He can be contacted at dwalsh@kamloops.ca. For comments on this topic please email citycouncil@kamloops.ca.

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About Mel Rothenburger (4997 Articles)
ArmchairMayor.ca is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At ArmchairMayor.ca he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

3 Comments on WALSH – Bigger venue needed for consultant’s report on Ajax proposal

  1. -Groundwater people…groundwater…or…KGHM should have to buy out the downtown City core as insurance in their ability to preserve the underlying conditions of water purity in _not_ contaminating the South Thompson River, et al, Kamloops Lake. For once the groundwater is contaminated, little can be done on such a large spring fed basis from above Kamloops.
    -Groundwater…

  2. Graham Strachan // April 19, 2017 at 4:08 PM // Reply

    I’m astonished that certain members of council would even suggest having a video feed as opposed to an open public meeting on the SLR report. As taxpayers we’re invested in this report and have a right to be able to hear it directly from SLR presenters and to answer questions…”in public”. As councillors you need to stop hiding from the public an behind election signs. I admire Councillor Walsh for bringing this concern to the publics attention.

  3. tony brumell // April 19, 2017 at 3:59 PM // Reply

    I agree 100% with councilor Walsh as to size of venue needed to present SLR’s follow up /final report on the KGHM application.I think that the same venue as before would be appropriate.The people have put an abundant amount of money the make sure that the report from SLR in complete and rigorous .To “cheap out ” now would be disingenuous and in poor character for the city.This may have important and lasting implications for Kamloops and I believe that all who are interested must be given opportunity to participate.
    Certainly Grand hall at TRU or the arena would be appropriate.You can not cram two or three hundred folks into chambers and a CCTV circuit is not sufficient to properly inform people who futures (pro or con) will devolve on the outcome of this forum

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