February 25, 2014 - 4:35 PM
KAMLOOPS — City council says they will keep their eyes on the proposed Ajax mine and as soon as any changes are made they will again request a federal panel review.
An upset Coun. Tina Lange was the first out of the gate today as she suggested they send a letter to Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq pointing out the provincial and federal reviews are not the same because the provincial one is done behind closed doors without any public input.
Earlier this month Aglukkaq responded to a November letter from council in which concerns over the project were highlighted and the minister was asked to approve a federal panel review. Mayor Peter Milobar says the letter was essentially a 'polite no' but left the door open to one if significant changes are made to the proposal.
Aglukkaq stated in her letter the federal and provincial reviews are essentially the same but Lange says they're not.
“The federal review would give you 20 days of public presentation, review, consultation,” she says. “It makes a big difference when it's out in the public and not behind closed doors. We are being denied that process.”
Milobar notes they've tried several avenues to get a federal panel review approved and none have been successful as of yet, but he is concerned that getting into a semantics match with the environment minister would not help get the panel review now, or in the future.
“I'm more comfortable saying we're going to keep an eye on it and as changes come forward we will highlight the changes and why they should trigger a federal panel review,” he says.
Lange reluctantly agrees it is better to not upset the minister and offered to change the scope of the letter to say council is keeping an eye on it and will ask for a review again. Under the recommendation of Coun. Donovan Cavers the minister will also be invited to Kamloops to tour the site and meet with the community to talk a bit about the proposed mine.
In the end council agrees that sending the more subdued letter is the most useful thing to do at this point, until changes are brought forward by KGHM Ajax Mine.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014