City of Kamloops questioning Ajax assessment process

By Chad Klassen
August 11, 2017 - 6:28pm Updated: August 11, 2017 - 7:00pm

KAMLOOPS — This week's report that the Ajax mine won't have any significant environmental impacts has the City of Kamloops questioning the review process. 

The provincial and federal environmental assessment offices released the report on Tuesday and none of the city's recommendations were included in the report — nor was council's overwhelming stance against the project. 

"From a staff perspective, I think it's safe to say it was a bit surprising to see some of the conclusions that were made in the documents," said manager of public works Jen Fretz. "The city put on an open house public meeting where SLR, at great lengths, reviewed all of the concerns raised. I think it's safe to say that the documents that were put out don't necessarily match what the city has been feeling."

Fretz says the report hammers home the point that the City of Kamloops has very little clout when it comes to influencing the decision on the Ajax mine. 

"The City of Kamloops is only one small stakeholder in all of this process," noted Fretz. "We've been asked for our opinions as technical working group members. We've given those opinions, and whether or not those opinions are including in the information that goes to the public is definitely up to the province and federal government."

The report did say the ajax mine would have an impact on the heritage of first nations in the region, and the Shuswap First Nations, which have said no to the project, believe it shouldn't go ahead without its approval — regardless of what the EAO offices say. 

Meantime, city staff will recommend to council on Tuesda  to lobby harder for their voices to be heard, and that includes encouraging council to officially submitting a public comment to the B.C. EAO office. The public comment period ends on October 10.

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