KGHM International would not comment Monday on the findings of an online survey suggesting a majority of city residents oppose the project.
The Ajax mine proponent intends to make use of the survey results, though.
“We’re not responding to the survey itself,” said Robin Bartlett, a spokeswoman for the company.
“We’re definitely taking the information and using it as a tool to better understand concerns as we see them in the community,” she added. “We are in the very early stages of the environmental assessment and we’re going to be as transparent as possible.”
The survey was undertaken earlier this month by the Kamloops Voters Society, which is dedicated to citizen engagement. The society is a non-aligned group and insists that it takes no position on the mine proposal.
More than 2,800 responses were obtained and the society weeded out multiple IP addresses in order to lend greater validity to its unscientific methodology. Online polls are not considered random measures and therefore lack the credibility of scientific polling methods.
Fifty-seven per cent of respondents oppose the mine while 37 per cent support it, according to the survey results. Complete results were posted on Monday on the society’s website, kamloopsvoterssociety.ca.
One of the general observations society executive members drew from the results is that residents clearly need more information on various aspects of the open-pit mine development.
Bartlett said continuing studies relating to the environmental assessment should provide the public with that sort of information.
The company will use the information as the assessment progresses, though.
Findings of a scientific poll commissioned by The Daily News in April, prior to the provincial election, contrast with the society’s findings. The Oraclepoll Research survey suggested that 43 per cent of respondents on the north side of the river favoured the mine while 42 per cent on the south side support it.
That poll, however, drew 300 responses from throughout the ridings of Kamloops-North Thompson and Kamloops-South Thompson, whereas the society’s survey focused on city residents.
In 2011 and 2012, a firm commissioned by KGHM-Ajax found opinion in Kamloops split down the middle. Its survey sample was smaller.
The society intends to crunch its data to draw more from the survey, including how opinions vary between neighbourhoods.