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AJAX – Council to choose from between two letters proposed by staff on mine

Kamloops City council will have two 12-page letters to environmental agencies from which to choose when it meets Monday to say yes or no to the proposed Ajax open-pit mine.

The letters, prepared by staff, both propose a list of conditions the City would like to see if the mine is approved. The difference is, one letter states council’s opposition to the mine, the other states support.

“Kamloops City Council wishes to express their support for the proposed KGHM Ajax Mine project (the project),” one draft begins. “In considering their decision, City Council has taken into account the results of SLR Consulting (Canada) Ltd.’s (SÒR’s) technical review of the Application and supporting documents, as well as feedback from Kamloops residents and businesses. This position is unconditional.”

The first paragraph of the second draft options states, “City Council wishes to express their opposition to the proposed KGHM Ajax Mine project (the Project). In considering their decision, Council has taken into account the results of SLR Consulting (Canada) Ltd.’s SLR’s) technical review of the Application and supporting documents, as well as feedback from Kamloops residents and businesses. This position is unconditional.”

Both proposed letters then go on to say that “notwithstanding their decision,” the council submits a list of “recommended conditions of project certification,” including “a robust, effective, and transparent monitoring and adaptive management program.”

On the list of recommended conditions are an Inter-Agency Working Group, an Operations Environmental Management Plan, a Decommissioning Environmental Management Plan, an environmental monitoring plan, an independent environmental monitor, accountability on the 90-per cent mitigation target for air3 quality impact, more study on the effects on Jacko Lake, and other conditions on such things as dark sky, socio-economics and accidents.

Four of the six council members have stated their opposition to the mine, so the only question will be whether council alters or eliminates staff’s recommendations on conditions.

For the full staff report and the two drafts of proposed letters to the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office, Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, and B.C. and federal environment ministers, click here.

The Ajax decision is the only item on the agenda for Monday’s special council meeting, which starts at 10:30 a.m. in City Hall.

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About Mel Rothenburger (5091 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.

13 Comments on AJAX – Council to choose from between two letters proposed by staff on mine

  1. Council, please say no – just no. And then, march in the streets with us. Lead the resistance. Pretty hard to force through a project if the city council is part of the protest. Just because staff recommend something doesn’t mean you need to do it. No social license for Ajax!

  2. Bill Hadgkiss // July 16, 2017 at 12:12 PM // Reply

    YES takes 50% more ink, time and effort than NO and will be a PIA for ever. NO is efficient and enlightening…

  3. tony brumell // July 16, 2017 at 11:55 AM // Reply

    Talk about covering your “a!” bases.
    Remember “Dewey wins!! Dewey wins”? You should be old enough to remember that Mel!!!
    Bear in mind the old phrase “It’s easier to apologize than get permission.A phrase you (We) would hear each and every time that they failed to meet any of our unconditional conditions.

  4. Sorry …….. in a democracy, people vote for the elected members, not for City staff.
    In a democracy, elected members speak for those who elected them.
    If the substance of both letters is either a yes or a no but tied to conditions, then both letters should be shelved.
    It sounds like there is a fear of reprisal or legal action if this project is not accepted.
    If the Acting Mayor and Council decide to vote “no”, then they should come clean with that decision.
    If we have puppets at City Hall, why bother wasting time and money on this by-election?

  5. Cindy Ross Friedman // July 16, 2017 at 9:40 AM // Reply

    Wait a second…I just read this article again.

    How can the letter (and I am using the singular on purpose) state: “[t]his position is unconditional” and then go on to list “recommended conditions”? Sounds conditional to me! And come now, there is no difference between conditions on the decision and conditions on the project. That is a false
    dichotomy.

    Just say NO to Ajax. A real no.

  6. Anything that requires 13 pages of conditions with no apparent real controls and financial protection should never be supported little own built !
    Just say no, period, full stop.

  7. Jerome Farrell // July 16, 2017 at 8:39 AM // Reply

    Enough of this,just a resounding NO is all
    No amount of provisos will alter the harm
    this will do forever to our City!

  8. Sean McGuinness // July 16, 2017 at 8:04 AM // Reply

    These are essentially the same letters, with one being “yes” and the other being “no”. I assume a lot of this language will appear in the BCEAO’s final assessment anyway. One can say “no” for a thousand reasons that go beyond the simple parameters of SLR’s report. The city could ask for a lot more, e.g. a property value protection fund. The “adaptive management” approach is tepid and is more designed to protect the financial interests of KGHM than property owners.
    In this regard, the city has learned nothing from Malarctic.

    It all looks good and reassuring on paper but that’s all it is right now – paper. You don’t know what you get until you start digging (to quote a mining engineer) Take a look around and see what you’re risking folks.

  9. There is nothing here that binds KGHM, no Performance Bonds, no material penalties, no default language, and no power to quickly stop KGHM if nonperformance should occur. Why?
    There is no calculation covering the amount of financial protection that should be in place up front. Why?
    Nothing is defined in the conditional language presented. why? (No defined terms)

    Are we to count on the Provincial Mining Act to provide protection, what a joke!
    You can take all the conditions and throw them in the garbage given there is nothing to materially back stop the 12 pages of conditions.
    Council, in these circumstances would be much better off in sending a one page letter stating total opposition to the KGHM application for an Environmental Certificate.

    • ” Are we to count on the Provincial Mining Act to provide protection, what a joke! ”

      That’s all there is John. The city can put up all the rules they wish for, but in the end, they have no power to demand, nor enforce any conditions they put in this letter. Unfortunately, in a case like this, council is nothing more than a group of Walter Mitty’s tilting at windmills.

  10. Cindy Ross Friedman // July 16, 2017 at 6:20 AM // Reply

    …so thus there is no difference between “yes” and “no”. Council: be bold. Go with what you know is right. You know what you need to do for Kamloops. Don’t be afraid. I know you are receiving advice from everyone; trust your own vision for Kamloops. It does not include being 24/7 mine monitors. Energy needs to be spent growing Kamoops, not defending it.

    • Go with what you know is right?
      Please!!!!
      This farce would’ve never got to this point if council went with righteousness along the way.
      For that matter, Kamloops would be a whole different if…

      • Cindy Ross Friedman // July 16, 2017 at 1:20 PM //

        Four councillors definitely have been trying for years. The problem was with the leadership at the top. That was the problem. In any case, you sure are right in that it never ever should have gotten this far…no kidding.

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