KAMLOOPS – Yesterday, Todd Stone stepped deeper into the Ajax mine discussion than ever before, but today he is walking back his comments… at least a little.
In a CBC interview yesterday, the Kamloops-South Thompson candidate sounded so hopeful the mine would proceed, it sounded to some listeners like he was officially on side.
“I sure hope this mine can go ahead. But that’s why we have an environmental assessment process,” then later in the interview said: “I do support the mining industry, I support mining families and I certainly hope that this project (can) move forward.”
That’s not exactly tacit support, but it was enough to bolster mine supporters. Support Ajax Mine quickly turned to social media.
“We finally have it - the support from an elected official we’ve been waiting for! Now that Todd Stone has shown Ajax some love, let’s show him some in return.”
Today, Stone clarified his remarks.
“I don’t think I’m saying anything vastly different than what I’ve been saying all along,” he says. “What I added to the discussion yesterday was that I have a deep and abiding respect for the mining families in this province. I hope this project can go ahead.”
All clear now?
Instead of backing the mine specifically, he declared his support for the environmental review process. That’s where the open pit mine proposed within Kamloops city limits rests and ultimately where the decision on its future will be made.
Discussion, protests, and assessments of the proposed mine have been ongoing for several years and has been a hot topic ahead of the May 9 election. Stone says there’s still plenty of work to be done.
‘“KGHM still has a heck of a lot of work to achieve a ‘yes’ in this process,“’ he says.
Ajax mine has been a top issue in this provincial election and one that’s high on the list for many Kamloops citizens.
“There’s a feeling in this community, whether you support Ajax or not, people want this issue to come to a head, one way or another,” Stone says.
Stone says the environmental review process currently underway is rigorous, science-based and fact-based.
“It’s easy to allow emotion get in the way of science. But, these decisions have to be made on science and fact and that’s what the process is set to do,” Stone says.
“At a certain point, you have to make decisions.”
Local First Nations’ groups announced their official opposition to the project last month and Stone says working with First Nations will be a big part of the project, if it goes ahead.
“Their considerations must be on the table and they will be,” he says.
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