April 14, 2016 - 1:34 PM
KAMLOOPS - A local community organization, which has said they are neither for or against the proposed Ajax Mine, has hired a lawyer to help protect the community in case the company's application moves forward.
Members of the Aberdeen Neighbourhood Association presented concerns about the proposed mine to city council this week and during the presentation board member Don Mann said the group has retained the legal counsel of someone who specializes in “law applicable to our situation.”
“We’ve taken this step because we believe strongly we are in need of protecting our interests,” he said. “Those being the health of our families and the status of our property, including it’s value.”
He said there are documented detrimental effects to the community from the potential mine and the city needs to vote against supporting the mine as it is obligated to mitigate risks for community members.
“It would be unacceptable for the city to not take action necessary to protect its most vulnerable neighbourhoods like Aberdeen from known sources of potential danger or damage,” he said.
If the city doesn’t act to reduce the risks for Aberdeen, he warned the city could be liable for damages caused by the mine.
“Inaction subjects the city to possible liability,” he said. “I encourage the city to seek expert legal advice on this issue prior to making a decision.”
The proposed copper and gold mine site is next to Kamloops' municipal border and the city's Aberdeen neighbourhood.
The public comment period of the environmental assessment ended April 11 and the provincial and federal enfvironmental assesment offices are currently working with the mine's proponent, KGHM Ajax Mining, and consultants to look at concerns from the public to do with the mine. The offices will decide this summer whether to recommend the mine be approved or rejected by provincial and federal ministries. They may also ask for more information, extending the decision period.
City council will be holding a meeting May 9 to discuss the city's position on the mine and will submit their comments to the assement offices at that time.
Negotiations are also resuming on a community benefit agreement between the city and the mine's proponent which will help define issues such as financial benefits and municipal maintenance between the mining company and city.
Find past stories about the proposed Ajax Mine here.
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