KAMLOOPS — Kamloops City Council candidate Kevin Krueger wants to know why Council is in a rush to make a decision on whether it supports the proposed Ajax mine.
The Ajax question has been hanging over Kamloops for the past six years — it’s hardly been a rushed process. Krueger need only look at the calendar for the answer to why time is of the essence.
On March 18, 2016, SLR Consulting presented council with its preliminary findings, raising many questions and highlighting numerous deficiencies in the 18,000-page application submitted by KGHM and its consultants.
On May 4 last year, KGHM Ajax asked for a suspension in the process so it could answer further questions about the project, including from First Nations.
On March 4 this year, the Stk’emlupsemc te Secwepemc Nation (SSN) announced its opposition to the mine.
On March 30 this year, the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office announced that the suspension was over and the 180-day provincial review would resume, with additional time to allow for more public comment on the joint assessment report and draft conditions.
The provincial application review phase is now expected to conclude in late September, says the EAO.
The final SLR report is awaiting an unveiling in front of City council and the public, on the City’s website and at a town hall meeting. Then, Council will discuss it, and on July 17, Council will make its decision.
A couple of other dates of interest. On July 26, 2011, Joel Neustaeter, a constituency office assistant to then-MLA Krueger, wrote to Aberdeen residents Jill and Shaun Walton that “God hid them (minerals) where he put them, and once people have invested the risk capital to find and claim the needle in the haystack, they have the moral and legal right to determine whether those minerals can be safely and economically drawn from the subsurface.”
Despite his assistant’s views on digging up rocks wherever God hid them, Krueger didn’t commit one way or the other. In October 2012, he posted an open letter to Ajax in which he urged an end to “the uncertainty, fear, anxiety and acrimony,” and told KGHM it must answer “legitimate concerns.”
Now, here’s the point — the by-election is likely to be set for late September. We’re out of time.
The facts are in. If anything, the council vote should be held sooner, before the ranks are reduced by resignations. Time to end the uncertainty, fear, anxiety and acrimony. Time for politicians to say where they stand.