On the second floor of the city hall in Shanghai, China, there's a room about the size of the council chambers in Kamloops.
Not to brag, but I've been there. This room is entirely filled by a scale model of the downtown development area of Shanghai, as well as its sister Pudong Park across the Yangtze River. On the old colonial side is the famous Bund shopping zone, on the other is the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, one of the weirdest looking pieces of architecture on the planet.
The model in city hall provides visitors — especially business investors — an unparalleled view of exactly what the vision for Shanghai looks like it. You can squint at it from all angles, you can feel it. And if you're interested in a particular street or neighbourhood, your host can flick a switch and light it up for you.
Every street and alley, every skyscraper and one-room shanty, every pothole is represented. Though I don't recall how many square kilometers the model includes, I would guess it would correspond roughly to the Ajax mine site, Aberdeen, downtown Kamloops, Batchelor Heights, South Kamloops and west Valleyview.
The same day the vice mayor of Shanghai gave me a look at this model a few years ago, I and a couple of other local reps were treated to a video presentation by the bureau of commerce that illustrated redevelopment of the Shanghai business district as it was expected to progress over the following decade or so.
That production was so sophisticated, so clear and so complete that KGHM Ajax should hang its head in shame for releasing the perfunctory video it did a couple of weeks ago.
Translating a vision into understandable terms might be something new for a mining company, but it's not the big challenge it's being made out to be.
So when council struggled this week to figure out what it should ask for from KGHM Ajax in the way of a model that will show us the mine in the context of Kamloops, it was a reminder of how this is not a re-invention of the wheel.
Figuring out what form such modelling should take, what format it should use, and how big it should be, isn't rocket science. Others have done it, and continue to do it. All councillors have to do is look.
As to the question, scale model or video, the answer is both. They provide different reference points, and they complement one another. A scale model of the area I mention above (showing the mine at complete build-out) could be done quite nicely in a room half the size of council chambers. Please, no cheap tabletop kid stuff — build it in a public place like a shopping mall and make its construction a public event.
At the same time, get some real expertise involved in a full-fledged, high-quality video production with some Hollywood flare but without the promos.
Though they don't seem to yet realize it, mayor and council can bring a lot of influence to bear in forcing KGHM Ajax out of its public-information cave.
Stop worrying about being rude and start standing up for transparency. Asking for a serious visual representation of what this thing will look like is a good starter.