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Proposed Ajax Mine a repeat subject at council meeting

February 25, 2016 - 8:30 AM

KAMLOOPS - The proposed Ajax Mine came up multiple times in Tuesday's council meeting as councillors battled about weather data and local businessmen spoke in support of the project.

Coun. Donovan Caver’s proposed a motion that would ask KGHM to release raw weather data. Cavers said he was approached by a member of the public with expertise in the subject and wanted access to the information. He suggested it should be easy for KGHM to produce the information because the data has already been collected for the mine application and should be saved in a spreadsheet.

Councillors discussed the role of the city in the current application, which is before provincial and federal environmental assessment offices. Coun. Pat Wallace saw the request as an unnecessary amount of information and a perceived slight against those applying for the mine. Coun. Tina Lange disagreed, saying a request for data is not a suggestion of dishonesty.

Coun. Ken Christian suggested the city should be aware of its role in the process and look to the consultants the city has hired for advice on information issues.

“I’m not going to support it because we can’t set ourselves up as the default EAO,” he said. “To date we haven’t heard from SLR about any deficiencies in the 18,000 pages.”

The motion was defeated in a four to four vote, with councillors Lange, Denis Walsh and Dieter Duty supporting Cavers, and Christian, Wallace, Marg Spina and Arjun Singh voting against it. Mayor Peter Milobar was not at the meeting.

Earlier in the meeting, a pair of local businessmen presented a pro-Ajax Mine point of view to councillors, pointing to current economic conditions as a reason to support the mine. They suggested the project should be world-class and seen as an opportunity to keep young people in Kamloops.

This was the second public delegation supporting the mine in as many weeks; the previous presentation also cited jobs and economic factors as the central reason to support the project.

The city will be holding a public meeting about the proposed Ajax Mine on March 18 at Thompson Rivers University for the public to ask the city’s consultant questions about the consultant’s review of the mine applications. The open-pit gold and copper mine proposal is currently in its public comment period which will wrap up April 11. The 180-day review by the environmental assessment offices will wrap up this summer with a decision on whether to approve certification or request further information before making a decision.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Brendan Kergin at bkergin@infonews.ca or call 250-819-6089. To contact an editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2016
InfoTel News Ltd

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