Coun. Arjun Singh says he's happy to accept the views expressed in an online petition opposing the proposed Ajax mine — but he insists now is not the time for council to take a stand.
A petition at change.org that urges Kamloops city council to come out against the proposed Ajax mine had more than 800 signatures by Friday. The goal is to reach 1,000.
The petition created by Steve Knudson is addressed to city councillors along with provincial and federal politicians.
It asks people to sign on to the following statement:
"Please represent this city and oppose the development of the Ajax mine. It is essential for the lives of children and families that you take every option available to stop its development. You will be partially responsible for the expected decline in the health of our children unless you take a strong stand against the mine and in favour of our citizens . . ."
Ajax opponents sometimes tell councillors they should represent the view of the community, Singh noted, but with the community divided on the project, that's not easy to do.
And if council is to take a stand, it would be more effective to do it once the application is complete and the public has had a chance to comment on it, he said.
As for the influence of online petitions, Singh pointed out that they have a low barrier of entry and don't have the same impact as something that requires more effort such as a phone call or a letter.
Still, the hundreds of signatures gathered on the site are significant, he said.
Among the most popular comments in the anti-Ajax petition, as measured by "likes," are these:
Maureen Young of Kamloops: "As a nurse I am stunned and appalled at the short-sightedness of people choosing short-term jobs over health and healthy lifestyle."
Maureen Brown of Little Fort: "Employment opportunities need to be created in the form of solving our environmental problems, not creating more of them."
Dave Conroy of Kamloops: "Rebranding our city into a resource town is a step into the past, not the future."
Don Ferguson of Kamloops: "Our airshed is already overburdened as can be seen by Environment Canada's own data."
Many of the signatures are from outside Kamloops, giving locations such as Vancouver, Victoria and Calgary.