KAMLOOPS – At the request of KGHM, a collection of local business people have signed a letter in support of the proposed Ajax Mine project.
The company approached a group of local business people asking to meet regarding the proposed mine. After a series of talks with KGHM, more than 40 individuals signed the letter, which was drafted by the company.
Dallas Stars owner Tom Gaglardi and Olympian Dylan Armstrong were among those who signed the letter, which has been sent to several provincial ministries. Copied on the correspondence are seven other public and local officials including Kamloops Mayor Peter Milobar and Premier Christy Clark.
It is stated that KGHM’s Ajax project will be found to be environmentally sound. The letter shows support for the project and asks the minister to do the same.
The letter says KGHM has going 'above and beyond' what is required of them in terms of addressing the concerns of the community. It goes on to illustrate the environmental precautions the mine will take, including minimizing dust.
Ending on an economic note, the letter describes how Ajax Mine will create or impact almost 2,000 jobs and contribute more than $100 million in annual payroll to the community.
“Let’s make sure that Ajax becomes a model that will attract new investment to Kamloops and British Columbia, and Canada, rather than a cautionary tale for investors wary of uncertainty,” the letter says.
Former chief administrative officer for the city, Randy Diehl, was the first signature on the letter.
“We trust the government scientists and the environmental review process in place,” Diehl says, adding that after the review comes back he hopes politicians will do the right thing.
This project needs to pass or fail based on its technical merit and nothing else, he says, not because of proximity or aesthetic issues. Yet no one wants the project to go forward if it can’t pass the environmental assessment Diehl adds.
“If you guys could give your support as business people subject to the final reports being submitted we’d be happy,” Ajax officials asked in presenting the letter to the business people, according to Diehl.
Ed Barker, a local real estate agent, does not feel the mine poses an immediate environmental threat to Kamloops.
“If I was concerned about it I wouldn't have signed (the letter),” Barker says, adding as a grandfather he would never support a project that might jeopardize the health of his grandkids.
Along with the economic benefits of the project, Barker believes Ajax will support a certain lifestyle in the city, as well. He says big industry provides amenities as well as a substantial amount of money in taxes.
As a real estate agent, Barker says he is not concerned about the proximity of Ajax to the city.
“I think people are blowing it out of proportion,” Barker says, adding homes in vicinity of the proposed mine priced at $500,000 or higher have all sold easily.
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