July 18, 2017
Dear Kamloops Deputy Mayor Arjun Singh:
Thank you for your clear point form disclosure of your “against” opinion on the Ajax Mine Project.
I am struck how your professional life in communications and deliberation has come full circle in your role as our Deputy Mayor. You handled the June SLR Town Hall meeting with a combination of humour, firmness, and grace. Yesterday you showed these same attributes during the Council Meeting I attended.
But what struck me most was the detail to which you outlined your reasons for your decision-making, and how you diplomatically balanced this decision with your understanding of the “good people” and the arguments on both sides of the fence, as it were.
I write today to suggest that you and your colleagues consider using your written 5 point rationale for your decision as a framework for the letter City Council crafts to higher levels of government.
Will the written decision comments read by you, Councillor Dudy, and Councillor Wallace be officially tabled/posted as part of the July 17, 2017 meeting minutes?
Please clarify – I might have misunderstood Councillor Wallace – Did she indicate that her discussions with Kamloops seniors asking her to approve the mine so that they can have lower taxes, as part of her decision-making? It is my understanding that the City of Kamloops is not entitled to any Industrial Tax Benefits from the Ajax Mine Project since it is located outside of Kamloops city limits.
In terms of balancing the economic arguments in support of this mining project, there wasn’t analysis of the potential economic losses to Kamloops if small business owners who employ others (e.g. physicians, dentists, pharmacists, physiotherapists, graphic designers, etc…) chose to move to another community.
Finally, I formally ask that Kamloops City Council officially request that the Federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, visit Kamloops as part of her final deliberations on the Ajax Mine Project. Fully informed consent and decision-making are themes that run through my professional life as a neurologist and through my correspondence with others pertaining to this mine application.
To be fully informed, I think that Minister McKenna must “Walk the Land” and meet face-to-face with Kamloops City Council, the SSN, and a collection of representatives of the supportive and opposing groups. To make an arms-length decision from her office in Ottawa would be akin to a neurologist not looking at the MRI films of a patient’s brain oneself, but relying on the written report by the radiologist only, before coming to a decision as to whether the patient has multiple sclerosis.
Such a decision is life-changing with social, occupational, and treatment implications for the patient. Similarly, the decision by Minister McKenna on the Ajax Mine Project will be life changing for those who call the Kamloops region HOME. Perhaps this visit request could be made during the formal Public Comment Period anticipated for later this summer. By then, the details of the information packages that will be forwarded by the BC EAO and CEAA to the Ministers will be better known.
Dr. Jennifer L. Takahashi, MD FRCPC