City council decided not to poke the Ajax bear any further, though there was lively disagreement at Tuesday’s regular meeting (Aug. 29, 2017) on whether more poking is needed.
Two separate but related issues came up about Ajax, one on the recent release of a joint federal-provincial summary of the project, and another involving a notice of motion from Coun. Denis Walsh.
The discussion got underway when Acting Mayor Arjun Singh proposed that Coun. Dieter Dudy rescind a motion he made at the last meeting to invite reps from the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office to come and explain the joint report.
While Singh said he hasn’t changed his mind about the report’s deficiencies, he figured it would be best to proceed in a “respectful, calm manner” and lobby provincial and federal cabinet ministers who will make the decision instead.
It’s a matter of process that can be better handled through letters and phone calls, he said.
Dudy agreed to rescind his motion, saying the BCEAO’s job is pretty much done on Ajax, and now is the time to lobby the politicians.
“The assessment ship has sailed,” he said.
Coun. Denis Walsh opposed rescinding the invitation, saying the BCEAO “has some explaining to do” about the report. However, he was the only one to oppose withdrawing the request.
B.C. Environment Minister George Heyman has already turned down a similar invite to come to Kamloops to talk about Ajax, saying it would be “inappropriate” to engage in discussions at this stage.
When it came to asking the leaders of the three main B.C. parties to support suspending the Ajax process until changes are made to B.C.’s outmoded mining regulations, things heated up.
Walsh brought forward a notice of motion on the matter, supported by Coun. Tina Lange, who said it wouldn’t change anything but it was another way to express dissatisfaction.
Singh countered that it would be unfair to KGHM Ajax to try to change the process mid-stream, and it’s not likely to happen anyway.
“Unless you think it’s actually possible, why poke them in the head?” he asked. “Poke poke poke… It makes no sense.”
Lange took exception to that. “We’ve been very polite; we haven’t poke-poke-poked at all,” she said.
If it was being inflammatory (which is what Coun. Pat Wallace called it) “quite honestly that’s where we should be going to get attention,” said Lange.
“There has been some poking along the whole process,” Singh insisted.
Walsh’s motion was defeated on a tie vote.