Kamloops: Canada’s Tournament Capital, home to 82 parks, and the meeting place of the Thompson rivers. With its unique desert climate and rolling grasslands, Kamloops is an area with distinctive wildlife and many scenic lakes. Quite simply, our home.
The face of Kamloops is currently threatened by the proposed KGHM Ajax mine, an open-pit monstrosity with a footprint of over 25 square kilometres of land.
While there are undeniable short-term benefits of the Ajax project, the long-term cost to the community is too harmful to be permitted.
According to the Ajax project website, KGHM estimates that over the mine’s 23-year lifespan approximately 380 direct full-time jobs will be created.
While this shaky promise may seem tempting, employment statistics from Tourism Kamloops reveal that this is less than the number of people currently working at Safeway.
Many argue that the total number of direct, indirect and construction jobs present considerable employment opportunities, but these opportunities do not fall directly to local workers.
Due to the significantly lower-cost of foreign employment, many of these jobs will not be available to residents of Kamloops.
If the project is approved, Kamloops’ reputation as Tournament Capital of Canada will fade to the new and less appealing title of “mining town.”
With the decline of desirable landscape features and an increase in noise pollution, the highly profitable tourism trade in Kamloops, on which so many residents base their livelihood, will decrease and cease to bring in profits to local business owners.
As tourism profits wane, there will be a decrease in employment rates and steady jobs. As it always does, decreased tourism will cost local residents their jobs and create a chain reaction of job losses and unemployment.
As a university student, future employment-seeker, resident of Kamloops and concerned citizen, I believe the harmful effects of the Ajax mine outweigh the small economic paybacks. The temporary jobs created are simply the shiny new handle, dragging behind it a wagon load of issues to come.