Kamloops councillor pushing for new meetings to discuss proposed Ajax Mine - InfoNews

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Kamloops councillor pushing for new meetings to discuss proposed Ajax Mine

January 18, 2017 - 8:00 PM

KAMLOOPS - While the Ajax Mine proposal is still sitting with environmental assessment agencies, a Kamloops councillor wants to prepare new meetings for when the process restarts.

Coun. Denis Walsh wants to add two more meetings to council’s calendar to help deal with a report on the proposed mine. City contractor SLR Consultants is participating in the environmental review process alongside mining company KGHM and provincial and federal environmental assessment offices and will report back to city council once all their questions are answered and the assment has restarted.

Walsh is concerned once the assessment is restarted there is only one meeting planned for councillors to ask SLR questions about the the assessment, after which they’ll vote on whether the city supports the mine or not.

“My concern is that we’re supposed to have a vote at the final meeting right after the presentation,” he says. “I don’t think that’s fair to the public, we need to have a public engagement process.”

He’s asking for two more meetings to be planned. One only a couple days after the process restarts, for council to have a chance to understand the basics, and a second a few days later for public feedback.

“They worked through a lot of issues and so we should get an update so the final presentation won’t be so lengthy and there won’t be so much to digest,” he says.

When these new meetings could happen is unknown, if they happen at all. The environmental assessment, a process scheduled to last 180 days, is nearing a year in review. Last May, the process was paused at day 108 after the mining company asked for a pause to answer questions brought up about the original application.

The provincial government granted the temporary suspension and work has continued behind the scenes between government agencies, the mining company and consultants. Council, which has no legal ability to veto or approve the mine on the city’s south west border, needs to state a position to the federal and provincial agencies before day 135 of the process, giving councillors 27 days to hear from consultants and vote.

For more on the proposed gold and copper mine, click here.

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