Time to get off the fence on Ajax

Two & Out
By James Peters
January 22, 2016 - 11:29am Updated: January 22, 2016 - 5:34pm

The information is now out there. 

It's what we've been waiting for in Kamloops for years now: the environmental application made by KGHM-Ajax. 

Now is time for a lot of people who have been sitting on the fence on this project to read the information and get off the fence. 

That includes the majority of Kamloops council, who could become a much more activist body once there is a majority opinion. 

The key lens to see all of this information through is one that focuses on risk versus opportunity. 

Certainly, we know the opportunities presented by the mine. 

It would provide several hundred jobs - albeit for an operating window of only 18 years - and it would pump hundreds of millions of dollars into the local economy. 

If the mine is rejected, does Kamloops risk a free-falling economy and massive out-migration of workers? 

The evidence suggests that's overblown. 

Ours is already one of the best cities in BC in which to find a job, one that has gradually weaned itself off of boom-and-bust industries and diversified to more stable sectors such as education, technology, and tourism. 

The decimation of one particular sector can't kill us anymore, like it could have decades ago, or like it still could many of our neighbouring communities. 

There certainly is risk if the mine is approved. 

Even restraining ourselves from alarmist environmental fear-mongering, we have to recognize the manifold risks to our health and the health of our environment. 

They simply aren't balanced out by the opportunities presented. 

But whatever the eventual decision on Ajax, let's all agree to one thing: not to hate each other after the decision is made. 

For whatever impact we fight for or against, it pales in comparison to the impact of a populace that simply fights.