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Air quality impact of proposed mine discussed at Kamloops council

The site of the proposed Ajax Mine.
March 09, 2016 - 11:20 AM

KAMLOOPS - The man behind air quality models for the proposed Ajax Mine was before council yesterday to explain the methods he used to get his data.

Peter Reid, an air quality scientist with Stantec Consulting, spoke to council about misunderstandings he’s seen and heard about the air quality model used to asses the potential impact of the proposed gold and copper mine immediately south of the city. Stantec was hired by KGHM as experts for the air quality assessment.

Almost all councillors had questions for him and Mayor Peter Milobar allowed the delegation period to run over the 10 minutes allowed for questioning during Ajax-related delegations due to the unique nature of the delegation.

Reid defended the use of different instruments, the model used and conclusions of the assessment. Coun. Tina Lange asked him about how data collection methods affected the results, which made the data appear awkward.

“We haven’t attempted to deceive anyone by portraying the old data as it was measured and portraying the new data as it was measured,” he said. “You don’t just go and correct the past based on new measurements”

Multiple councillors were concerned that while the the assessment suggested air quality in Aberdeen would not be greatly impacted, residents who moved up there had chosen the location partially due to its exceptional air quality. Coun. Denis Walsh said bringing the neighbourhood down to the quality in the valley isn't ideal. Reid said that the assessment wasn’t tasked with making judgement on health concerns.

Reid’s appearance before council was the fifth delegation regarding the proposed mine since council reopened chambers to Ajax-related delegations. Three were by members of the public in support of the mine, one was by KGHM staff and most recently, the one by Reid. Reid said his delegation appearance wasn’t at the request of either the city or KGHM, though both had mentioned tthat speaking to council about the misunderstandings around air quality research would be good.

“It’s my work,” he says. “So stand and deliver.”

The 18,000-page environmental application for the proposed mine is currently in the public comment and review period. To facilitate a better understanding of the application KGHM Ajax Mining has provided plain language summaries. At the end of the review period this summer, the federal and provincial governments can decide to either approve the environmental license, ask for more information, or decline the application. If approved the open pit mine will operate immediately southwest of the city.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Brendan Kergin at bkergin@infonews.ca or call 250-819-6089. To contact an editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2016
InfoTel News Ltd

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