To City council: The proposed open-pit mine, within and bordering Kamloops, places the future of our city at a crossroads. As our elected council, you cannot just ‘wait for the environmental assessment’. In purchasing a piece of property, would you rely only on the provincial assessment value? A car...only an auto review? A decision to begin a certain drug treatment...only the pharmaceutical assessment? I would hope you would research many sources and determine what is right for you.
With the proposed mine so close to our city you must think critically...we practice critical thinking exercises in schools. In addition, we ask our students to use a variety of sources. Such an exercise might look like this:
COLLECT INFORMATION — Choose an open-pit copper mine (such as HVC, or Berkely Pit, Montana), and report on the effect of dust and particulate matter on air, and water. Include information on the distance of the community from the mine site. How did the environment and community change after 15 years? 25 years?
DESCRIBE — Our air shed, the occurrence of inversions over our city and our prevailing southwest winds.
RESTATE — the four key issues Mining Watch Canada identifies as necessary to change public policy and mining practices to ensure the health of individuals, communities and ecosystems.
ANALYSE — the effect of a mine on real estate prices within 1.5 and 2 km from the mine site versus 15 km away (Kalgoorlie, Australia?)
Then perhaps you will represent those citizens in the southwest sector who placed a huge investment in their homes. Would they have purchased within 2 km of an open pit mine?
ASSESS — the importance of grasslands, recognized by the B.C. Ministry of the Environment as an Ecosystem at Risk. Until April 23, 2012 the City of Kamloops had information on their website about the importance of grassland communities and the 10 ecological communities in the Aberdeen area.
MEASURE — Conduct specific baseline studies of soil, plants, air, water and weather.
COMPILE INFORMATION — on KGHM Polska and their environmental record.
LOOK FOR THE INFORMATION THAT IS MISSING — In the KGHM 3D model...Kamloops is missing...there is no acknowledgement of the residential areas, subdivisions. Isn’t that why we wanted a model in the first place? Is this a foreboding? Why can we not get access to assay information to learn what naturally occurring elements will become an issue when exposed in such large quantities and become air born in particulate matter or soluble in groundwater?
IDENTIFY — the heavy metals that will be in the particulate.
DESIGN A PRESENTATION of the facts of the proposed open pit mine...Include such information as pit size 2.5km x 1km x 500m, water consumption 1,667,000 litres per hour, diesel consumption 91,000 litres per day, power rates 3.5 cents per KWH, electricity usage.... more than Kamloops residential usage. (The annual royalties received for all levels of government wouldn’t operate 1/3 of our school district for a year.)
ANALYSE — the socio economic effect if 700-plus residents move from the city. (Kamloops Daily News poll 44.5 per cent of 1,676 respondents.)
COMPARE — Kamloops landscape, elevations, vegetation and environs with (for example) Timmins, then predict what Kamloops will look like in 20 years.
FORECAST — the effect on lung and heart health for so many in our air shed...World Health Organization has ranked diesel fumes as a Group 1 Carcinogen. It is one thing choosing to take the risk working in this environment, quite another to have it imposed on our community 24/7 by prevailing SW winds.
What if there is a severe storm? It was a seasonal storm that breached the tailings dam at Coniaurum Mines. The mine suddenly closed. The company left and there was seasonal discharge into the Porcupine River for over four decades. The Canadian Insurance Bureau is encouraging municipalities to plan for more severe weather events due to increasing frequency. (KDN August 17, 2012)
Councillors, if you don’t do your research and speak up on behalf of the citizens who elected you, who will? Cheers to councillors Cavers and Lange for stepping up.
MARY KAY CLAYDON