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People aren't buying anti-Ajax fearmongering

September 26, 2016 4:18 A.M.

ISN'T IT ironic?

We're sure Alanis Morrisette might have included Kamloops and the KGHM Ajax copper mine controversy in her popular song had it been on her radar at the time.

This,  because a segment of the population has been pulling its hair out, warning of cataclysmic events should the mine project south of the city be approved.

Doctors, and academics, and others would flee the city they warn, which would be covered in mine dust, have nearby water systems contaminated and be threatened each day by the prospect of a tailings storage pond collapse that would wipe out the rest of us who have yet to grow an extra limb because of the proximity of the mine.

Despite this ongoing death star scenario some people have embraced, there seems to be a trend that suggests most people aren't buying into the fearmongering.

We say that because the Kamloops Thompson school district, city and provincial officials have all been reporting strong population growth, particularly on the south shore.

It's reached the point where there's a critical need for a replacement for South Kamloops Secondary, where Valleyview Secondary is at 130 per cent of capacity, and there's a need for an entirely new elementary school in Pine Valley.

The real estate board also reports Aberdeen and Sahali are almost always near or at the top of the monthly sales chart.

Maybe we're missing something, but isn't it ironic, that so many people regard the south shore of Kamloops as a good place to buy a home, and raise their kids despite all of the anti mine rhetoric!

Listen to Jim Harrison's editorials weekdays on Radio NL, and to the Jim Harrison Show at 9:08 a.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Contact him at jharrison@radionl.com.

David Webb says:
September 27, 2016 10:56am

Jim, I hate to break it to you but the reason people are moving to Kamloops is that our nextdoor neighbour Alberta is in an economic toilet. There's no work to be had, and all of the young people that went east to work in the oilpatch are pouring back to BC.

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Wilka says:
September 26, 2016 12:46pm

"Doctors, and academics, and others would flee the city they warn."

I laugh when these so called professionals threaten to flee Kamloops. Where will they go? Some other industry town needing a doctor or maybe a nice big smog polluted city like Vancouver or Toronto? Its really a pretty pathetic threat but hey whatever helps you sleep at night.

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Marlene says:
September 26, 2016 12:37pm

Mr. Harrison, thank you for saying what most of us in the industry already know. People want to live where they work period! I wonder why these groups deflect and reject rather than just answer the question we in the industry keep asking. Its been asked several times by several different supporters but I will ask it again anyway. Why in more than 5 decades in local mining at ground zero 24 hours a day with all the pollutants and dust are there no health clusters previously documented that could in any way substantiate these claims of death and doom? To even remotely take this anti industry minority group seriously one will need some actual relevant evidence to support the claims. We are talking thousands of workers over 5 decades. 1, 2, 3, GO!

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As Usual says:
September 26, 2016 12:22pm

As expected the same old same old comments come out hitting back with everything but the facts. The facts are that this project proposal is not scaring away real-estate investment in Aberdeen. The facts are that this project proposal is not scaring away population growth in our city. The facts are that there is strong support in this community and it far exceeds that of the fear mongering, fact less propaganda pushing groups of "not in my backyard."

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Alex says:
September 26, 2016 12:20pm

A world copper supply glut, rock bottom prices and weak chinese demand forcast have more to do with the mine not happening then anything else. It closed decades ago for a reason. I think people see that and are willing to chance a purchase in the area.

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Mike says:
September 26, 2016 12:51pm

What does that have to do with a gold mine? Are you saying there is a world gold supply glut? Mines open and close all the time with the market changes so yes it closed and its again viable so? The comments here are ridiculous but keep with the general theme of stop ajax. too funny

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Ajaxtoobigtooclose says:
September 26, 2016 10:27am

Your observation that "there seems to be a trend that suggests most people aren't buying into the fearmongering..." may be correct, but your explanation is wrong.

The evidence suggests the mine is not going to be developed anytime in the foreseeable future. They've been working on towards it for five years now, and are now going backwards. The Polish head office of KGHM is run by political appointees. They need dividends to fund Polish government operations. Ajax is nothing but an unending money drain. Copper has tanked. KGHM doesn't have the money to develop Ajax. After the new Polish government was elected and new management was placed in charge of KGHM the company sacked Gillespie along with many other staff members. The proposed low grade operation is too expensive and too risky, and will likely never be developed.

People have to go on living in Kamloops, and there are many positive developments coming, like The Reach at TRU.

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Frank Price says:
September 26, 2016 09:45am

Most people think the ridiculous idea of allowing a huge open pit mine to be perched above a city of 90,000 people would never get the go ahead, so it hasn't yet affected their buying decisions. Who in their right mind would approve something so monumentally stupid? If the mine is actually approved you'll see the opposite trend with people leaving the city for more desirable communities.

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Liz says:
September 26, 2016 08:33am

You just don't get it do you Mr Harrison. Sure there is positive growth in Kamloops including the South side sector. The majority of the new people moving in to the South are confident that Ajax will never proceed, whether or not it is blocked by the conditions and terms of conditional government approval or KGHM'S weaken financial position and/or the current and future price of copper.
Have you actually talked with these people, they are confident Kamloops is moving toward clean, sustainable industry, (see your own comments on TRU last week) not dirty unsustainable open pit mines. Ask your friends in Merritt how they feel about unsustainable resource based industry and ask them how they will replace those 200 high paying jobs, and ask them how they feel about the future real estate market as there is a rush to leave Merritt in pursuit of future employment.

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Steve says:
September 26, 2016 07:42pm

Just in case you didn't know... Kamloops is an INDUSTRIAL TOWN. With a pulpmill, a sawmill and two mines with workers that commute to and from. If you don't want to live in an industrial town, then move!

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Marlene says:
September 27, 2016 11:27am

I agree with you Steve. These people who are against industry in our well established, well known industry town drive me crazy. I always laugh at the complaints against you see from time to time in our paper. Complaining about the pulp mill when you chose to move within its reach is idiotic! Complaining about the coal dust from the train when you chose to move to Dallas next to the 100 year old train system is idiotic! Complaining about dust when you chose to move to a desert community is beyond idiotic!

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Lee Kenney says:
September 26, 2016 08:02am

Using Ms. Morrisette's lyrics as a example of irony, is a stretch, considering her views on children and pollution . See her official website, maybe even ask her opinion ?

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Mark Gibson says:
September 26, 2016 07:41am

I live at the top of Aberdeen and it is not fear that makes me opposed to the Ajax mine. It is common sense. Take a drive up to Highland Valley and then tell me you want to live right next to that.

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Pierre Filisetti says:
September 26, 2016 07:24am

It may not be a cause of aversion to rhetoric but a tacit feeling of comfort knowing the mine will never be built, because that's the right thing to do.

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James Graff says:
September 26, 2016 07:08am

-If Kamloops found out that it would be fictitious aliens running he proposed mine site, I suppose people would still go it, that is, for having it where it is proposed to come to be on the landscape, simply because it would bring money to the local economy.... -Still doesn't make it right, in terms of all the other growth over the years invested into the City as a whole.

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Caroline king says:
September 26, 2016 06:34am

Well said!

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Bianca says:
September 26, 2016 06:20am

Oh Jim, how would you know anything about people's motives for moving here? I know several who have moved here without knowing anything about the Ajax debacle. They are a bit miffed when they find out.

Property sales/values are always supply and demand and "what you can get for your $." Yes, houses are selling in Aberdeen, but that doesn't prove what you think - ask an economist. The analysis would have to be much more sophisticated.

Sure some may people may embrace Ajax, but I doubt that's why they are moving here. Perhaps you should reflect on that. Why are people moving here now? What do they value about our city? Does our economy and community have tonnes of potential without Ajax? Why do they seem to favour the south shore?

I would wager that the reason we are growing is because this city is awesome and it is a great place to live without Ajax! Ajax would not enhance quality of life for most of us and would degrade it for some.

Much as you like to mock those with valid concerns, the concerns are real, science informed, and appropriate. Most of us are not "chicken littles" - but we know our city and quality of life is worth defending from a large open pit mine that is way too close for comfort. We are not desperate for growth at any cost. We have a beautiful city and the rest of the country/province may be noticing and responding to our great university, access to the outdoors, good jobs, rivers and somewhat affordable housing.

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Mark Twang says:
September 26, 2016 05:58am

Since AGAX blew its chances with shoddy and inaccurate submissions at the environmental assessment, the word among realtors, and developers is the the project is dead. Kamloops is doing great as we move from a resource economy to a knowledge based economy. Other mines are already openly telling employees that driverless trucks are coming , so goodbye to those jobs! Even if the economic benefits are debatable, having a giant mine pit on your doorstep only attracts a certain type of business, and gives other businesses and professionals second thoughts about coming here. When things are going so well, why take a chance on such a potentially huge negative?

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