January 16, 2013 - 9:59 AM
Mayor Peter Milobar and three city councillors will finally get a private meeting today with the company behind the proposed gold and copper mine in Kamloops.
KGHM International requested the meeting with council and the Thompson Nicola Regional District. The Ajax mine has been controversial and under public scruitiny for its vicinity within the Kamloops limits as well as for the potential environmental impact. Many councillors have stayed mum on the issue while stakeholders await an environmental impact report from the federal government.
To legally avoid quorum at the meeting, only four council members may attend, otherwise they may be held legally responsible for any decisions made. Council did not wish to do that behind closed doors.
At the Jan. 15 meeting, they had three options regarding the invitation - skipping the meeting, choosing four random councillors to attend or having the mayor attend with three random councillors - with the latter being chosen. Mayor Milobar said councillors being chosen randomly would appease the public as several councillors have strong opinions on the issue.
Councillors Tina Lange and Donovan Cavers preferred KGHM staff visited council chambers, however Milobar said council has been waiting for an opportunity to meet with them after several failed attempts.
"We've tried various avenues," Milobar said. "We haven't been successful at this point."
Coun. Nelly Dever felt it was a lose-lose situation when it came to appeasing the public, adding that some would be concerned over the transparency element while others would be concerned over a lack of engagement on the issue enough.
She preferred to meet with KGHM.
"The tone of the group will be completely different," she said. "That will allow us a different Q and A component."
Milobar said these types of meetings are standard, but he wanted the decision over the invitation brought to council in public interest.
"Why I asked for it to come this way is for that transparent reason," he said. "I think it's better that we go and talk than not. At a certain point the public has entrusted us. Yes, it's a contentious item, but we meet on contentious things."
Councillors Ken Christian, Marg Spina, Lange, Singh and Mayor Milobar voted in favour of the mayor and three random councillors attending the meeting, while Coun. Cavers opposed. Coun. Nancy Bepple dismissed herself.
After the decision was made, Councillors Cavers, Dever and Singh were randomly selected during to attend.
KGHM International is also holding a public open house at the Coast Hotel and Conference centre this evening from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
— Jessica Wallace
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013