KAMLOOPS — Kamloops Mayor Peter Milobar struck back at Armchair Mayor and CFJC Today columnist Bill McQuarrie today, saying a column on council's negotiating process for a potential community benefit agreement with KGHM-Ajax is based on a conspiracy theory.
McQuarrie's November 22 column 'Mayor should be more transparent on Ajax agreement' criticized Milobar for informing the provincial government of the terms of negotiations between the City of Kamloops and the mining company, but not fully informing council or the public.
Milobar, Councillor Pat Wallace and Councillor Dieter Dudy sit on the committee tasked by council with negotiating an agreement between the two parties.
The column insinuated that, because Milobar is now a Liberal candidate in the coming provincial election, he felt beholden to the Liberal government rather than Kamloops citizens and city council.
During his report at today's regular council meeting, Milobar refuted the idea that council was not being kept up to date with the process.
Milobar called McQuarrie's column "guesses and assumptions dressed up as fact," and said the process has been completely transparent.
Milobar detailed how the negotiation committee was formed and given a mandate during an open council meeting to pursue a potential community benefit agreement.
The mayor noted that a first draft of proposed terms was presented to KGHM-Ajax prior to the September Union of BC Municipalities Convention, but that the mining company didn't respond prior to the convention, and the two sides haven't met since.
Milobar noted the full council received a verbal briefing of the draft that was proposed, and councillors were offered a written summary if they desired.
Milobar also noted the draft was presented to the provincial government prior to the UBCM Convention so ministers could get a sense of the direction of negotiations before meeting with Kamloops councillors on the proposed mine project.
He said there was plenty of media coverage on the issue around the September convention, and that there was "no way of trying to hide the fact that the meetings were happening."
"The conspiracy theory that's been washed with innuendo and assumptions in this piece is, frankly, totally offside to everyone around the council table and myself," said Milobar. "I feel council has been up to date. Written copies were made available if council wanted to read them after the fact."
"It makes it sound like there's this big, behind-the-scenes thing going on when, frankly, other than the exact clauses in the agreement, everyone in the public, including the media and the gentleman who wrote the article, should have well been aware of what's been going on because we've always been talking about it, have made no bones about it and weren't hiding anything."
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