AJAX – Report ‘just a charade,’ council invites cabinet ministers to Kamloops

City council wants cabinet ministers to come for a look.

The federal and provincial cabinet ministers who will make the final decision on Ajax will receive a “strong” invitation to come to Kamloops to meet with City council and other interested groups, and to see where the mine would be built.

Council decided today to extend the invite after leaving no doubt about what it thinks of a joint federal-provincial report from environmental review agencies on the project. It also formally endorsed the Stk’emlups te Secwepemc Nation’s (SSN) opposition to the mine.

Words like “frankly horrified” (Coun. Tina Lange) and “just a charade” (Coun. Denis Walsh) pretty much summed up what council thinks of the Summary Assessment report and an expanded version from the two levels of government that conclude the proposed mine “is not likely to cause significant adverse effects” to the environment.

Acting Mayor Arjun Singh said council should pursue “the highest level of lobbying” to ensure council’s opposition and concerns are taken into consideration when the decision is made this fall.

Lange said the report treated council’s concerns as if they were “nothing…. We were just ignored.”

“I just have no faith in the EAO (B.C. Environmental Assessment Office) after that summary report,” said Walsh. Pointing out that the report makes note of council’s opposition while in the same paragraph stating council reached an agreement with KGHM on a community benefits package, he said, “I find that insulting… it’s just improper.”

Coun. Donovan Cavers commented, “There’s a lot of things that have reduced by confidence in the BCEAO.”

In a flurry of motions, council:

  • voted to invite the federal and B.C. environment ministers and the B.C. mines minister to Kamloops, and that the invitations be extended both verbally and in writing.
  • voted to suggest the ministers make themselves available for appointments with other concerned stakeholder groups when they come.
  • voted to accept staff recommendations that a list of comments and concerns be drafted and communicated, and letters be sent restating council’s opposition.
  • voted to invite the BCEAO to make a presentation to council explaining the report.
  • voted to formally endorse the SSN’s opposition to the mine.

Staff said a follow-up letter from the BCEAO received Monday night said the cabinet ministers are obligated to consider the full Federal Comprehensive Study/ Provincial Assessment Report, not just the summary, in making their decision.

The actual report may or may not be changed, but CAO Dave Trawin said, “I’d still like to go in there swinging and fighting.”

The public comment period — in which the public can make submissions on the reports — runs until Oct. 10.

About Mel Rothenburger (6121 Articles) 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 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 AJAX – Report ‘just a charade,’ council invites cabinet ministers to Kamloops

  1. I don’t know if I have a lot of confidence in the process when Victoria’s sewage is pumped directly into the water off shore from the city and the folks in Ottawa probably don’t know exactly where Kamloops is located.
    But, it’s worth a try.
    After five years of warnings about environmental issues, finally we see a consolidated movement supporting clear logic and science.
    Should there be a Charter of Rights challenge on this one? We have basic rights in Canada to protect us and to ensure our safety. It would likely just get us into a hugely expensive court battle with a doubtful outcome.

  2. How is it possible to believe the provincial and federal governments are acting in the best interests of the citizens of Kamloops if they ignore the clear message from The City of Kamloops and SSN? If the zone of influence from the mine extends into City limits and SSN territory, the approval process shouldn’t be allowed to continue without strong support from both local governments.

    In short, we live here, they don’t.

  3. Cindy Ross Friedman // August 15, 2017 at 5:30 PM // Reply

    I am glad you quoted everyone, particularly Trawin. What he said is the kind of attitude we need. Needed it five years ago, in my opinion, but good stuff.

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