The debate around the Ajax project has hinged on the environmental-health effects on the one hand and job creation-economic prosperity on the other.
I will not delve too deeply into specifics of the socio-economic ramifications of this project going through as much as I want to say that Kamloops has always involved an element of heavy industry. And not only do I believe it always will, but always should.
Being a blue-collar town where we are not afraid to roll up our sleeves creates a collective psyche that I have seen on various outings in the community.
We have that rough-and-tumble feel, but we conduct our behavior with an undertone of respect that is indicative of someone who knows the value of a dollar.
It is not unremarkable as to why residents have legitimate concerns about the possible detriments that Ajax could pose. Dust, watershed issues, noise concerns, the close proximity of the mine itself would have most communities entirely opposed to such a venture.
However, we are divisively split on this issue, and the reason is because of our hardworking, blue-collar ethos.
Kamloops is a central hub of industry, what with both the CN and CP rail lines that both run through our city.
We are home to various large-scale industrial businesses from pulp to mining to cement to what used to be an oil refinery.
We are even home to Mount Paul Industrial Park, in which the name says it all. On top of this, we have a renowned trades program at TRU.
As a lifetime resident, I care tremendously about all aspects of Kamloops — environmental, social, economic, psychological, and familial.
Kamloops may be a more diversified economy now than it has been in decades past, but underneath it all it still has a heavy blue-collar base, which I am proud to be a part of.
The fate of Ajax awaits a well-deserved scrutinized review to assess all possible impacts.
If it meets all requirements by law, and KGHM is held to a high standard, we should embrace this opportunity with opens arms.