I would like to thank Michael Mehta for his intelligent and eloquent addition to the Ajax discussion (What Does Silent Majority Think?, The Daily News, Dec. 12). I hope this debate will not soon die and that more people will weigh in because there is still significant health, environmental and aesthetic concern surrounding the proposal. The decision to have or not have this mine is a jobs-now versus the-healthy-future-of-Kamloops debate.
I am a 34-year resident of Kamloops and have immensely enjoyed living and working in our community. I have had a successful career as a physician and have enjoyed the benefits of more than enough steady work. I know that steady work has benefits. I also know that there is much more to living than work and Kamloops has endless beauty, outdoor and sport activities to help balance life. Three of my five children have moved away from Kamloops to find work elsewhere. They miss the Kamloops that they knew. Employment and jobs are crucial to keeping young and vigorous youth in our community. My children talk of moving back home but are resigned to making a life where there is work. Creating employment in Kamloops is clearly needed to retain this segment of our population.
On the other hand, attracting people to Kamloops is equally important. Professional and skilled workers are essential to the community and they are in short supply. To attract them we need to retain the collateral attractions that will round out their lifestyles. People who move here only for the money are hardly people to enhance our town.
Visual beauty and an amazing climate are two of the benefits of living in this city. The quiet, unique, semi-arid landscape is one of the attractions that characterize our landscape and reputation. Impacting this attraction seems folly. I have little interest in living in the next Sudbury or Fort McMurray. I know of no community with such an industry so close to its core that has the reputation of a healthy place to live. I can't imagine being able to attract major sporting tournaments to Fort McMurray. I can't imagine tourism in Sudbury. I can't imagine this mine being good for Kamloops.
Kamloops is currently a healthy and beautiful place to live. As such Kamloops has a great future with the potential to attract positive growth and job creation that will enhance our community. The choice to change the status of our community forever to that of an ugly, unhealthy industrial mining town is a short-term gain for a long term negative reputation that will drive healthier industry elsewhere. There will be no going back once the mine is here.
I am nearing the end of my career and will likely be out to pasture by the time the Ajax mine is to be operational but if I were younger and knew the mine was inevitable I would certainly cast my eye to opportunities elsewhere. I would not encourage my children to return to an unattractive, potentially toxic town.
We would have our family reunions somewhere else, somewhere healthy and beautiful.
WILLIAM PAUL BISHOP
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