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Mr. Open Pitbelly plans to make Ajax Mine proposal a Kamloops election issue

Looking west over the area that would become a waste rock management facility if KGHM Ajax gets the go ahead to build an open pit mine on the outskirts of Kamloops. A local artist is adopting the character Mr. Open Pitbelly to run for mayor of Kamloops in the upcoming municipal election and has made it clear she is against the mine.
September 05, 2014 - 3:21 PM

KAMLOOPS - The proposed Ajax Mine will definitely be an issue in the upcoming Kamloops municipal election campaign because Mr. Open Pitbelly has thrown her hat into the ring.

Artist and master gardner Elaine Sedgmen will officially announce her intention to run for the mayor's chair on Monday.

Sedgman will be running as the costumed character Mr. Open Pitbelly in the hope of bringing awareness to what she sees as the downfalls of the mine.

“Pitbelly stands for the three P’s of prosperity: Ponds (tailing variety), pits and pollution,” she says. “As mayor Mr. Pitbelly intends to make a huge difference to Kamloops.”

She was inspired by performance artist Vincent Trasov who ran for mayor in Vancouver as the Mr. Peanut character in 1974.

“He was a lot more subtle, he was an artist,” she says. “I’ve always admired him, so it’s sort of what I’m basing myself on.”

Sedgman has been thinking about the idea for months and while she has worn the costume at some previous Ajax protests she plans on changing things up just a little bit for the mayoral race.

“I want people to laugh. Of course it’s a serious topic, but I want people to laugh, to open up the discussion,” she says. “KAPA is very serious, and rightfully so, and I just wanted to give a different slant to it. I really hope it will get people interested in the election.”

While she sees this endeavour as performance art there is some concern about how Ajax supporters may react.

“What I’m doing is totally outside of my comfort zone, but I feel strongly about this. It’s really important for me to do this,” she says. “My husband is actually very worried and really doesn’t want me to do this.”

Sedgman, as Pitbelly, will be hosting a media event on Monday, Sept. 8 at 9 a.m. in front of Kamloops city hall. She also plans to host a number of other events over the coming months as she ramps up her campaign.

As of today, no one else has stepped up to run against incumbent mayor Peter Milobar in the November election. Nomination packages are currently available at City Hall and online and nominations can officially be submitted Sept. 30 to Oct. 10.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Jennifer Stahn at jstahn@infonews.ca or call 250-819-3723. to contact an editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014
InfoTel News Ltd

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