Ajax mailout - info or promo?

'Ajax is important to the community and we want to provide information to folks'

Michele Young / Kamloops Daily News
January 9, 2014 01:00 AM

Detail from the cover of the booklet mailed out by KGHM.

KGHM International has sent out full-colour 20-page documents to 10,000 Kamloops residents in a bid to get more of the company's information out about the proposed Ajax mine project.

Two more rounds of mailings, of about 10,000 each, are expected to follow in the coming months, said Yves Lacasse, KGHM's external affairs manager.

"We want to send this to everyone in the community. That's our goal. We sending them in waves," he said Wednesday.

"Ajax is important to the community and we want to provide information to folks. Studies aren't done, we're just working through that right now."

The package includes a postage-paid return mail card asking recipients what they think. Two boxes are along the side that can be checked: one says the respondent supports Ajax's efforts, the other asks for the company to contact them.

Despite the fact KGHM has pulled back as it reviews the proposed mine's footprint and that studies are still ongoing, Lacasse said the oversized brochure is a way of getting information out.

"It's to provide timely and accurate information about the project and engage and listen to the community," he said.

The spokesman for mine opponent Kamloops Area Preservation Association, John Schleiermacher, hadn't seen the documents but from the way they were described, said they didn't sound like they offered anything new.

"It sounds like the same old thing. It doesn't sound like there's anything in there that hasn't been chewed over before," he said.

"It doesn't deal with the issues. Many people in the city concerned about Ajax have been pushing for a panel review. We don't believe the current review is adequate."

While KGHM has taken a smooth and controlling approach to communicating with the community about the mine proposal, it hasn't provided much information. Nor has there been a willingness to face larger groups, Schleiermacher said.

"I asked him (Lacasse) to come to Aberdeen neighbourhood association's regular meeting in November. We wanted to get him out in the open where he has to answer some questions in front of the people most vulnerable to the negative effects of this mine.

"He wants to meet with small, controlled groups in his office."

The proposed mine will be 30 times the size of the old mine at the site, Schleiermacher said.

"Throwing out information like the fact there was a mine there before, that's just papering over old information. People have been asking them questions for two and a half years now and we're not getting any answers. Why would they be getting answers now?"

He said he'll just toss his mailout package when it comes.

Lacasse said the company has already had some responses to the first mailout.

"We have received a lot of feedback and most of it, to be honest, has been positive from the community," he said. "Some folks do have concerns, they have expressed that. Some have delivered cards in person at the office and we've had some discussions.

"It's to engage and listen to the community. The concerns and comments we're using in our plans."

Lacasse said the company is looking at holding some larger open houses at some point this year, in addition to the small sessions it has organized.

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