Organizers of a panel discussion on the Ajax Mine proposal hope to see a good turnout despite short notice and awkward timing on a Friday night at the start of a long weekend.
The panel, including Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, gathers Friday night, 7:30 p.m., July 29, at St. Andrew’s on the Square. They’ll be discussing impacts of the copper/gold open pit mine on the local community and environment.
May’s availability was key to holding the discussion, said John Schleiermacher of Kamloops Area Preservation Association.
“I think she was doing some routine travel and managed to work it into her schedule,” he said. “We’ve been in contact with her for the better part of a year to try to sit down and talk about this.”
B.C. Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver visited in March, partly to tour the Ajax site and learn more about the project. Schleiermacher said he’s not sure how much May knows about the project but he’s been sending her information.
The panel will also include Dr. Jill Calder of Kamloops Physicians for a Healthy Environment, Schleiermacher and local politicians, but details haven’t been confirmed.
KGHM’s environmental assessment review was paused in May and will remain so until October in order for the applicant to prepare responses to more than 2,000 comments and questions.
The community advisory group working with the B.C. Environmental Assessment Agency requested an additional comment period once the company responds and the 180-day review resumes at Day 108. Their request was turned down.
“It doesn’t fit into their structured format, which is definitely slanted for a mine in a remote area, not for a mine near a city of 90,000 people,” Schleiermacher said. “Basically, we’re shut out of the process right now.”
The advisory group still hold out hope for a federal full panel review, a request the City has made three times to two successive governments without success. Part of the idea of including May in Friday’s discussion is to raise the profile of their concerns in Ottawa.