City council narrowly voted 4-3 Tuesday to ask KGHM-Ajax and provincial government offices to produce a physical model of the proposed Ajax mine.
But all of council was united a few minutes later when it came to asking KGHM to provide a better digital model of the mine site.
Throughout all of Tuesday's Ajax discussion, Coun. Nancy Bepple was excused because her partner works for a mineral exploration company working in the mine's footprint and because she owns shares in Abacus, another business involved in the project. Mayor Peter Milobar was out of town at a meeting about RCMP costs.
Council started off bringing back the letter request for a physical model from last week's tabling motion that gave staff more time to bring in information.
City sustainability and environmental services manager Jen Fretz said she called a professional model company and was told the cost for a one-metre by 1.2-metre size production would be about $5,500.
However, she also heard there is a group in town putting together a model showing the mine and part of the city.
Council's discussion then got bogged down in amendments to the main motion.
Council first voted on whether the model should be out for public display. That was carried, but councillors Pat Wallace and Ken Christian voted against.
Wallace said she didn't feel it was council's place to direct where the model should be put on display. It was suggested it should be out in public places, possibly City-owned buildings or malls.
Then Coun. Donovan Cavers moved the City should build the model, saying KGHM hasn't been quick to do things and that one official told him the model might consist of individual parts of the mine, which wouldn't give a perspective within the city.
"This gives us control," he said.
The rest of council disagreed. Coun. Marg Spina said she felt it wasn't the City's position to create the actual mapping at this point.
Deputy Mayor Arjun Singh felt it was important council asked them specifically what they wanted in a physical model.
"Our role here is to ask for those things, not produce them," he said.
Coun. Tina Lange said she didn't want to spend taxpayers' money when another model is being built.
"I would also like the mine to produce one as well, perhaps one that's static and in one place," she said.
Then came an amendment that the model include parts of the city to give context to the mine's size. That carried, with Wallace and Christian again opposed.
The main motion was then up for discussion, to write KGHM, the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office and the provincial ministers of mines and environment to produce a physical model.
Christian said he heard last week from a representative of the EAO that it has a rigorous process that will take two to three years. And a model is being built, he said.
"I see ourselves trying to inject ourselves into this process in several different ways" which is unnecessary, he said.
Wallace agreed with him and questioned why the letter would include putting the request for a model to the EAO and the ministers instead of just KGHM.
"Why not ask Ajax if they're going to do a model and if so, when will it be out and available to the public?"
Spina said council has a duty to inform citizens and help them get information to ease their concerns.
The motion passed, with Wallace, Christian and Coun. Nelly Dever opposed, and Cavers, Singh, Spina and Lange in favour.
Then Dever brought forward a motion for the City to formally ask KGHM to produce a digital model, similar to Google Earth maps, to show the visual impacts of the mine from any given location.
Cavers said that would give even more people access, which he liked.
Singh asked how difficult that type of model would be to produce.
Fretz said it should be fairly straightforward.
Council was unanimous in supporting the letter of request to KGHM-Ajax.