I’ve lived in this city of rivers since 1962, and I can’t believe people here are so calmly accepting the prospect of a huge, leaking pit on the edge of town. After all, for most people who choose to live here, money isn’t everything, or even the main thing. And what about our downstream neighbours, human and otherwise?
Ajax proposes to dig a pit the size of Mounts Peter and Paul turned upside-down and after it’s closed, to allow it to fill with water spiked with acid mine drainage and heavy metals. We’ll be left with a toxic lake. Forever.
The proposed pit will also bisect two major aquifers — Sugarloaf and Peterson creeks, altering their drainage and threatening the Thompson River. This, plus incessant noise, regular ground shocks from blasting and clouds of ore dust for the next 23 years.
The company wants Kamloops to accept all this in exchange for some tax benefits and a few hundred jobs.
A myriad of public costs may offset even these limited perks. A tailings pile visible from anywhere in Kamloops will make us a laughing stock as a so-called Tournament Capital, and tourism will also be affected by the loss of part of Jacko Lake and all of Inks Lake, popular recreation areas in winter and summer that bring millions to our region.
And who is going to want to live in Aberdeen or Pineview, with a noisy, thumping, belching mine a mile or so away? KamPlan chose the southwest sector for major residential expansion, and Kamloops has already sunk millions into infrastructure there, including expensive water-pumping stations and slope stability measures. Are we going to just walk away from all that?
Maybe we won’t have to worry about Kamloops needing more space to grow if Ajax mine is approved. After all, who’d want to live in the Deterrent Capital? Not many professionals that is for sure. Good luck recruiting doctors, engineers, and university professors to work here, and, speaking of universities, will TRU be the university of choice for international students if this mine goes in?
Please, everyone, but particularly our federal and provincial governments, our City council and TNRD, please do not allow Ajax to change the face of our city forever. We can do better than this. Please don’t trade our quality of life in perpetuity for this limited offer. We can say no. It’s not a done deal. It’s just a company. It can go elsewhere. It doesn’t have feelings. Ultimately, it won’t care. And that, perhaps, is the point.