It appears KGHM is gearing up for the battle of public opinion. I got a call this evening from a marketing company doing a survey on KGHM's behalf - I presume to gauge whether hiring RCMP superintendent Yves Lacasse has had any immediate effect. I was quite happy to have the chance to voice my opinion on the matter.
It's hard to believe that anyone would even conceive of putting an open-pit mine in such close proximity to a city. If you have ever been to or flown over Highland Valley Copper Mine, then you will have some idea of what is being planned.
Many people say they are waiting to see what comes of the environmental assessment, but personally, after seeing maps and the three-dimensional models, I don't need any more information to come to the conclusion that this project is a bad idea.
There are, as has been pointed out, other examples of open-pit mines close to populated areas but it's one thing to build up a town around an existing mine, and quite another to build a mine next to an established city.
As far as trusting our governments to make the best decision in the interest of the public, I wouldn't count on it.
If it weren't for the efforts of concerned citizens and "environmentalists," there would likely be no old-growth forest in B.C., the Coquihalla would be in private hands and creosote-laden railway ties could be burning in Mission Flats.
The environment is clearly not a priority of our current federal government.
Ajax mine opponents have been accused of trying to stop progress, but since "progress" means "movement towards a goal," that would depend on what your goal is. Many people have been working hard for years to establish Kamloops as an innovative city where good health and quality of life are paramount.
The surrounding natural environment with its great places for outdoor activities including fishing, skiing, mountain biking and many more, as well as our Tournament Capital of Canada designation, all contribute to that goal.
Having a mine next to the city will effectively cancel out all those efforts and transform the city into just another "mining town."
The promise of jobs and economic benefits does not justify the risks to our health, our lifestyle and our environment.
If you haven't already, please take some time to check out the video, Is This The Future of Kamloops? on YouTube, to get an idea of the scope of this project and hear what some of our local citizens have to say about it.
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