Milobar: Let's take an Ajax break for Christmas

Peter Milobar Mayor of Kamloops / Kamloops Daily News
December 10, 2012 01:00 AM

Over the last year City council has been asked why they haven't taken a stand on the proposed Ajax mine and it's even been suggested that we are sitting on the fence.

The majority of council feel they want to get as much information as possible before offering an official opinion in the proposal.

I realize that some people feel we have enough information but we, just like the whole community, are still waiting on answers from the company to our long list of concerns.

There seems to be a feeling in the community that if Ajax chooses to ignore the concerns that have been raised they will eventually receive the permits that they need.

This is not the case as no further steps in the approval process can occur until those concerns are addressed by Ajax.

When we had a provincial representative at our council meeting to discuss the environmental assessment process we asked if it was too late for council to offer an opinion to be considered.

We were told that we will have time after all of the concerns are answered to provide comment and it will be received for consideration.

As an elected official, believe me when I say the public will be well aware of council's eventual direction on a project of this magnitude.

Council is simply doing what people elect councils to do. We are gathering all of the information, both pro and con, and when the time is right we will give our opinion.

When our comments are forwarded, it is important to point out that we only have the ability to comment, not deny or approve. I know that Ajax manager Jim Whittaker stated at a council meeting that the company would rethink its proposal if council and the community said no.

A couple of problems with that though. Whitaker is no longer in the same position he was previously.

We have no waiver or other document from the company giving us that ability and how Whitaker phrased his comment leaves it open to interpretation.

Council is not alone in not stating an official position either. There has not been a position taken at this point by the federal or provincial governments. Even the official oppositions have not declared a position.

With the above in mind and as we head into the Christmas season, I have a simple wish for everyone. I hope everyone can take a few days and talk about anything and everything except the proposed Ajax mine.

Given the time that has already passed since we first heard of the proposed Ajax project, it seems very obvious that this is a community conversation that will be with us for some time into the future.

Many an article, editorial and letter to the editor has been written about not only the project but how the proposal has caused heated conversations between family and friends.

This is not meant to suggest in any way that the project is insignificant or should be ignored.

I'm simply suggesting that since it does not seem the answers to the many community concerns will come before the end of 2012, maybe just maybe, we can take a collective breath and enjoy the next three weeks with our loved ones.

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