April 29, 2015 - 12:51 PM
KAMLOOPS – There is no appetite around the council table to ask the province to change the deadlines surrounding the environmental assessment process for the proposed Ajax Mine.
Coun. Donovan Cavers wanted his fellow council members to ask the province to delay the 75-day public comment period after KGHM submitted its environmental application to give people more time to read through all the information before the deadline.
Before debate regarding his motion even began Cavers said he objected to information from KGHM being included in the agenda package. The company sent a letter to council noting information would be made available in 'plain language' after the application is submitted. While Cavers found it tantamount to a press release and said it disrup the city’s independent decision making process Mayor Peter Milobar believed it fair disclosure.
The councillor went on to explain Ajax will submit an approximately 15,000 page document. A layman could barely read through this document in 75 days, let alone understand it, evaluate it critically, and form informed opinions. People need more time argued Cavers.
Milobar agreed with the sentiment of the motion, but worried about legislative timelines. While it is very important for the public to have their say, he also worried about the legality of such a motion, and of the tightened timeline the motion could impose on the Environmental Assessment Office as well.
It is was noted the job of the province is to not only to analyze the document, but also the comments of the public. The office is then meant to give KGHM conditions on the proposal, sometimes into the hundreds.
The sentiment in council that defeated Cavers’ bill echoed not only concerns of the mayor, but the idea the proposed mine needs to be dealt with. A decision needs to be made, one way or another, and this motion only served to delay the process.
KGHM Ajax Mine is expected to submit its application within the next couple of months. If the documentation is accepted, the project will enter into the 180-day application review stage.
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