By Jennifer Stahn
A three-day-old online survey focusing on Ajax is hoping to get an accurate snapshot of the opinions of Kamloops residents when it comes to the proposed mine.
Chad Moats, owner of Roundabout Communications and Consulting, created the survey earlier this week in a two-fold endeavour aimed at helping test the waters for economical, reliable surveys for charities and non-profits in smaller centres as well as to try and get a glimpse how the community is reacting to the proposed KGHM Ajax mine.
The short 12-question multiple choice survey establishes demographics and then asks users through multiple choice responses how strongly they agree or disagree with a statement, if they don't care or are not yet sure.
If 300 people take the survey by midnight tonight, Wednesday, March 27, Moats believes the margin of error will be acceptable. If the minimum number is reached, Moats will release the information he gathered to the community.
Moats has procedures in place to ensure only Kamloops residents take part in the survey, and only once, to help ensure the data is as accurate as possible.
Moats hopes the survey will get people talking about the project more openly as it seems a lot of the conversation out there comes from a “very poisoned atmosphere, and if you don't respect each others opinions you can't come to a compromise.”
Right now should be about information sharing, Moats says, “when you're not in campaign mode it shouldn't be about the sell, it should be about the conversation.”
This is something Coun. Arjun Singh agrees with. The survey is the other side of the coin to what council wants to see for Kamloops residents – which is more information. The current climate at recent forums is very passionate and some people simply looking for information feel these forums are too biased and aggressive and will often leave without the information they came for, Singh says. He added he wants to see a well designed way for people who are undecided to get the information they need so they can make a decision.
Council agreed at a regular meeting Tuesday to commit to hosting a public information session following the release of the environmental assessment – expected to be submitted this September. Coun. Nelly Dever presented council with a notice of motion that will see council host a public information session half-way through the six-month comment period that will follow the submission of the assessment. This will give staff time to review and analyze the information, she said, and will ensure they are best prepared for any questions citizens have about the project.
In delivering the notice of motion Dever said the proposed mine “has created a lot of controversy in our community, we need to give our community reassurance that we have their best interests at heart.”
Coun. Tina Lange also wanted to ensure the information would be available online prior to any sessions so they can come educated and ask appropriate questions. The sessions will give people the chance to “get up and say this is what I feel, this is what I want.”
The lack of information seems to be the biggest part of the issue, which also leads to misinformation, Coun. Marg Spina noted as she spoke in support of the motion. This type of forum would help people get the information in a less frustrating manner council agreed.
All of council agreed to the notice of motion - other than Coun. Nancy Bepple, who once again left the chambers prior to the discussion because she owns shares in the company.
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