February 15, 2016 - 6:30 PM
KAMLOOPS - As the public commenting period continues for the proposed Ajax mine, information sessions are coming up with provincial and federal environment agencies and KGHM Ajax.
Now that the public comment period has begun on the proposed copper and gold mine on the city’s southern border, citizens are able to weigh-in with officials about their concerns and give their opinions on the proposed mine.
The B.C. Environmental Assessment Office has a website open for commenting. While the period started Jan. 26, most comments have arrived over the past seven days and range widely in opinion; some are completely opposed while others completely for the mine. Concerns include the tailings pond and air quality, while others are looking forward to new jobs and new cash flow for the tax base and local businesses.
Some comments say they’re waiting for more information before deciding, and for those, events this week may be pivotal.
The assessment office will be holding information sessions at the Coast Hotel and Conference Centre in Kamloops Feb. 16 from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Feb. 17 from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. These will be more technical presentations from KGHM Ajax Mining.
A second round will be held March 15 and March 16. Both will be from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. and again at the Coast Hotel, but this time with booths and posters for more individual engagement with the public.
City council will be holding a special meeting March 18 at the Thompson Rivers Grand Hall to present their preliminary application review and allow the public to ask questions. The city has hired a consultant to review the mine application and provide feedback to council.
"Essentially our consultant will be presenting their results to date," city public works directorJen Fretz says.
Councillors will then be participating in a council workshop to seek their own clarification of the report on March 21 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Council will then have two special regular meetings on the proposed mine. On March 23 they will be meeting to provide a preliminary response during the public comment period. They will follow up with another meeting May 9 to receive their consultants full review and potentially provide an official response to the environmental assessment office.
Fretz says the best way for the publci to be heard in the process is to cmment directly to the assesment office, and not the city.
"If people want their voices heard they should follow the official process," she says.
As a mine information session will be happening Feb. 16, council moved a public consultation on the city’s budget to Feb. 23.
To read more about the proposed Ajax mine click here.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2016