April 28, 2016 - 9:30 AM
KAMLOOPS - Three, not two, members of Kamloops council are packing their bags for a mine education trip to Ontario and Quebec, as Coun. Denis Walsh is joining in.
Mayor Peter Milobar and Coun. Tina Lange are leaving tomorrow morning, April 29, for Sudbury, Ont, while Walsh is joining them in Timmins, Ont. the next day. Walsh will return the following Monday, while Lange and Milobar won’t return until Wednesday, May 4.
Walsh has already voiced opposition to the propsed Ajax Mine, but says he's joining the trip to better understand the issues at play.
"In some cases it may appease some of those concerns, in others it may excite those concerns," he says.
Additionally, he says if the mine is permitted, the trip will provide some education on how to deal with the mine and mining company KGHM Ajax Mining.
“If it gets the permit we’ll be better prepared to ask questions,” he says. “We’ll be in a better position to negotiate with the mine.”
Walsh says he thought it was important to join the trip as he was the one who made the initial motion to send someone to Timmins and Malartic, Que. He won’t be going to Sudbury, as he doesn’t think it’s as relevant as the other two communities and he doesn’t have room in his schedule.
“I want to see an example of a mine that’s in production and the effects it’s having on the population,” Walsh says.
He says he’ll be travelling solo. Milobar says there was some confusion about others joining the group, potentially from community groups, but that’s been cleared up now.
The city will be covering the costs of the trip as part of the educational travel budget. Walsh says if his trip is more expensive due to his alterations he’ll cover the difference.
Milobar says they will be meeting with mayors and mining companies, with a final itinerary completed today.
The trip was planned after council passed a motion to send the mayor and a councillor who was undecided about the proposed Ajax Mine to eastern mining towns. When none of the undecided councillors wanted to go, Lange decided to join the mayor.
The proposed copper and gold mine southwest of the city’s border is currently in the environmental assessment phase. While the public comment period ended April 11, the city will be making a decision whether or not to support the mine May 9. The federal and provincial governments will make a decision on whether to support or reject the mine’s permit this summer, though they may request more information and delay a decision.
Find past stories on the proposed Ajax Mine here.
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