City council requesting environment ministers visit Kamloops for Ajax

By Chad Klassen
August 15, 2017 - 5:13pm

KAMLOOPS — City council continues to put their foot to the pedal, endorsing staff recommendations to contact the provincial and federal environment ministers at Tuesday council meeting. 

However, councillors took it one step forward, wanting the ministers to come to Kamloops for a visit. 

"The two applicable ministers should be invited to come to Kamloops. A conversation on the phone or us going to them is just not going to work," said councillor Tina Lange. "We have a new environment minister with George Hayman and he should definitely come to Kamloops, so you really get a feel of where that mine is and how close it is to people."

All five councillors at the meeting are against Ajax, and all were disappointed by the joint report by provincial and federal assessment agencies that states there will be no significant environmental impacts from Ajax. 

Lange even went on to speculate that maybe the B.C. EAO was doing KGHM a favour with the report. 

"Perhaps they got lulled into this feeling that because they helped them to get to that, and I don't have a problem with that. The EAO should be helping proponents, but it's if by doing all that, they forgot about everything that was coming from the citizens of Kamloops," Lange noted. 

The city received a letter from the B.C. EAO late Monday, outlining why the report omitted some city concerns. It also invited the city to meet with the EAO. A CFJC Today request for an interview with the agency was declined. 

At Tuesday's meeting, Denis Walsh worried aloud that the EAO perceived the $3.8 million community benefit agreement with KGHM as a quasi endorsement when, in fact, council is strongly against the project and simply protecting the community if it goes ahead. 

"Although we voted against it, we also accepted a community benefit package, which is improper for a group [B.C. EAO] like that to be insinuating that we've been bought out basically. We're taken care of by our $3.8 million buyout from KGHM," said Walsh. 

City council also voted in favour of a motion to endorse the SSN's stance against the mine. Despite having little influence on the final decision, council will continue to push forward to higher levels of government to get their point across. 

Return of hot, windy conditions expected to spur growth of wildfires