Public deserves one more kick at the Ajax can

Armchair Mayor
By Mel Rothenburger
January 18, 2017 - 5:00am Updated: January 18, 2017 - 5:58pm

KAMLOOPS — You need a compass, a calculator and a good road map to figure out where the Ajax environmental review is going, and when it’s going to get there…. And Kamloops City council needs to figure it out fast.

I wrote in last Saturday’s Armchair Mayor column that crunch time is coming for the review and for the City deciding where it stands. The council has left itself virtually no wriggle room.

In the beginning, the majority insisted they must “wait for the science” and “wait until all the facts are in.” After KGHM submitted its application, the mantra morphed into “wait for our consultant’s final report.”

That report is what will come out of a half-million-dollar study by SLR Consulting commissioned by the City to dig into the application.

After so much waiting, as it stands now council has given itself all of a couple of hours to digest the report, when it arrives, and come up with a submission to the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office.

It goes like this: the BCEAO review process is frozen at day 107 of the 180-day review at the request of KGHM, which wanted more time to answer questions arising from the application.

Council must submit a position to the Environmental Assessment Office by day 135. In other words, in a period of 28 days the City must receive the SLR report, staff must digest it and submit it to council, presumably with recommendations, council must in turn digest it, debate it and give staff direction, and then staff must craft a submission.

In the middle of that, council is currently scheduled for a single special meeting. That didn’t escape the attention of Coun. Denis Walsh, who filed a notice of motion yesterday asking for two more such meetings to allow more homework time and to give the public a chance to weigh in.

Everybody wants the Ajax nightmare to be done with, but let’s do it right. The public deserves one more kick at the can.