Senior environment official coming to Kamloops in March; not minister

Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

KAMLOOPS - City staff and local band members will get to meet with the federal ministry of environment this month, but it be with a senior official, not the minister herself.

Jesse McCormick, a senior member of environment minister Catherine McKenna's staff, will be headed to Kamloops near the end of March, according to Caitlin Workman, a ministry spokesperson.

She says McCormick will meet with Mayor Peter Milobar and local indigenous groups to discuss the proposed Ajax copper and gold mine, though there is not yet a schedule with exact times and plans.

While McKenna will not be coming out for meetings at the end of March, Workman says the minister may still meet with local groups.

“This just means she doesn’t have time in her schedule in the immediate coming weeks,” she says.

At the Tuesday, March 8, city council meeting Milobar told councillors McKenna might be coming to Kamloops at the end of the month. He said city staff received an email from McKenna’s office indicating she may come west to meet with city officials and Stk’emlupsemc te Secwepemc Nation. Workman says this was a misunderstanding and that planning and discussions for a meeting between local indigenous groups, the city and the minister are ongoing with no dates or locations set.

The city and the First Nations group both received letters from McKenna last week. In the letter to the city, the minister said she will not be calling for a panel review of the proposed mine, something the city has been asking the federal government for. However, McKenna does say she would like to meet with the city officials in the letter, and the Frist Nations group says the letter they received says the minister is commited to a meeting as well.

The environmental application for the proposed mine is currently in the public comment and review period. The public comment period ends in April while the review period ends this summer. At the end of the review period the federal and provincial governments can decide to either approve the environmental license, ask for more information, or decline the application. If approved the open pit mine will operate immediately southwest of the city.

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

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