June 09, 2015 - 7:26 PM
KAMLOOPS – Local businesses are expressing opposition to the proposed Ajax Mine by sending letters to the province listing concerns with the project.
So far about 150 local businesses have written letters to Bill Bennett, Minister of Energy, Mines, and Natural Gas, expressing their concerns about the proposed Ajax Mine.
The Kamloops Area Preservation Association along with the Kamloops E-mail Network of Concerned Citizens, spearheaded a month-long letter writing campaign. Anne Neave, a spokesperson for the association, says known Ajax opponents were approached starting in May and asked to sign a letter of concern addressed to Bennett.
“Organizers felt that individual letters would have more impact than a single letter,” Neave says of why they asked for individual letters to be sent.
Signees 'personalized their letters with additional comments,' Neave says, adding many even chose to write their own letter on company letterhead.
The group plans to keep the letters and senders confidential.
KGHM sent their own letter, signed by 42 business leaders, to Bennett last month. While the company did not release the letter several of the people who signed the letter chose to make it public. KGHM spokesperson, Robert Koopmans, says his organization has no knowledge of who exactly released the letter to the media originally and refuses to comment about the letters written by concerned business owners.
John Schleiermacher, a member of the preservation association, says his group acted in a more responsible way, adding the association did not use the letters as a public relations move. According to Schleiermacher what is most important to the association is that the minister knows not all Kamloops businesses are for the project. The fact so many letters were written on their own is very gratifying for the group.
“We didn’t buy them breakfast, slap a letter in front of them and (tell them) to sign.”
The proposed open-pit copper-gold mine has been a hot topic in Kamloops in recent years. If approved the mine will be located on the southwest outskirts of the city. The company plans on submitting the environmental application for the project this summer. The anti-Ajax groups have been raising money through an online fundraiser to hire 'independent experts' to analyze the application. In just three weeks nearly $24,000 has been raised.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015