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ROTHENBURGER – Unearthing Ajax

October 3, 2015 9:14 A.M.
An open pit mine.

DIDN’T MAKE IT to the Ajax forum this week. Wasn’t invited to the KGHM-sponsored appies party at Montana’s that rallied the pro-open pit folks before the forum, either.

I don’t like to miss these things, but all the questions, study and debate in the world won’t change my mind about this monstrous black hole in the ground anyway.

I’m keenly interested in what the City finds out in its consultation process and in what the application for the mine reveals, but none of it will make me feel differently.

Kelowna or any other Okanagan city wouldn’t allow it. Neither would the Fraser Valley or the Lower Mainland. What is it about Kamloops that this is even being considered?

It won’t make Kamloops suddenly rich. All those KGHM sponsorships being lavished on local events and causes won’t make Kamloops a better place to live. Ajax will bring some jobs, but it won’t even be among the top half dozen employers.

I know I don’t have a lot of company among local media on this. But to the ass kissers and fence sitters out there in media land, I offer this challenge — snap out of it. Stand up for your community.

To some people, maybe many, my viewpoint is narrow-minded and stupid. “Wait for the science.”

Well, my great-great-grandparents, great grandparents, grandparents, and parents lived and worked here. My kids grew up here; most have stayed. And their kids. And theirs. That doesn’t make my opinions on Ajax more worthy than someone who moved into town yesterday. It simply shapes and explains how I feel.

I live in the house built by my great-grandparents, and the one in which my mother grew up. It’s far from the Ajax mega pit. We won’t hear the blasting from here. Maybe the particulates won’t carry this far.

No matter. It’s not about lines on a map. Kamloops, the Nicola, the North Thompson, they’re part of me. My ancestors rode the very ground that will be unearthed — to employ the current vernacular — by the heavy equipment and detonations of this mine.

It will change this place. 'Ruin' isn't too strong a word. In truth, open-pit mines ruin any place they’re developed. I defy you to find an open-pit mine that hasn’t ruined the ground upon which it sits. You can smear some lipstick on it, plant some trees and grass around it, but that hole will be there forever.

We need copper, just as we need oil, just as we need jobs. It all comes with a cost. But are we so bereft of imagination, so utterly devoid of sensitivity to this Earth that sustains us, that we can’t choose our spots a little better? Couldn't we ruin some place further from where we live? Must we dig up rocks wherever they are, instead of where we choose? Do we need these specific jobs, instead of some other ones? Could we not be a little more selective?

Are we so desperate that we have to excavate gigantic open pits on the very doorsteps of our cities?

We’ll regret it. The day will never come when we say, “Sure glad we dug that monstrous hole in the ground right on the edge of town. That Tournament-Capital-Communities-in-Bloom-Beautify-Kamloops idea was just a passing fancy anyway.”

But we’ll get some jobs out of it, after all. The bullshit of science (or is it the other way around) will find that everything can be mitigated. It can all be talked over.

That’s the easy way. Or we can take a stand. We can say, go somewhere else. Not on our land. Not in our community.

Mel Rothenburger can be contacted at armchairmayor@newskamloops.com. 

kristina benson says:
October 22, 2015 11:06am

Kudos Mel! Well said.

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Neil E Thomson says:
October 10, 2015 01:13pm

One can understand that being deprived of appies might actuate disgruntlement, I would be happy to buy Mr. Rothenburger a beer and appies for the opportunity to speak reason to the appy excluded. Mr. Rothenburger said “I’m keenly interested in what the City finds out in its consultation process and in what the application for the mine reveals, but none of it will make me feel differently.” – well one loves an open mind. Evidently Mr. Rothenburger has had opportunity to pole several other British Columbia communities, I must confess, I have not; what I am sure of is that I could care a less what other communities think – we can manage our own backyard - take that provincial and federal governments.

MY PROFESSIONAL WEBSITE

I love when the likes of Mr. Rothenburger out of hand just dismiss 400 primary jobs and related spin off – none of the Kamloops youth displaced by the “Kamloops can’t do spirit” are likely to share his view. They have no interest in being suddenly rich; they are interested in the opportunity to enjoy what Mr. Rothernburger has been granted unconditionally, employment.

“I know I don’t have a lot of company among local media on this. “ Ya right, they are as adhered to the politically correct as Mr. Rothenburger, here he is passing himself off as the “rebel”, when in fact it is the comfy established that is trying to close the door behind them. Mr. Rothenburger says, “But to the ass kissers and fence sitters out there in media land, I offer this challenge — snap out of it. Stand up for your community.” No one has ever accused me of “kissing asses”, I just want to make Kamloops is as prosperous as possible; I would ask the people to “snap out” of NIMBism, and scaredycatism.

MY PROFESSIONAL WEBSITE
“To some people, maybe many, my viewpoint is narrow-minded and stupid. “Wait for the science.”” Why Sir, you already said nothing is going to change your mind, besides, science can say anything, it can facilitate or obstruct – it seems clear the kind of science Mr. Confirmation Bias is looking for – the point is we can figure out what to do. The key is to establish a long term operating agreement with the mine, so the City can assert our interests.

MY PROFESSIONAL WEBSITE
I love to reminisce all the generations before me in Canada too, but one asks why it is relevant in this instance; I am most concerned about the generation that is here now, a generation that is underserved by the NIMBism that Mel is peddling, the generation that wastes away their lives with crappy employment.

There has been an open pit mine outside Kamloops since I arrived in Kamloops in 1984, the first 10 or 20 years I hardly knew it was here. Ajax will change things here, growth, young people employed here rather than somewhere else and the opportunity to build a premium residential development.
MY PROFESSIONAL WEBSITE

Rather than screaming NO, perhaps we could attempt to take the opportunity to think about how to do it, do it in a way that is constructive and considers that health and wellbeing of the citizens of Kamloops. So rather than say NO, say faster – narrow the mineral extraction time, if they can do it in 25 years, they can do it in 15. Rather than say look at the big hole that's going to be there, say imagine a new lake, a sculpted community. Rather than setting your hair on fire over dust, realize that it can be managed. Rather than screaming that death and destruction will ensue, as some of our less scrupulous “professionals” have done, realize that are thousands of old miners who have worked right in mines and related mills their whole life. Rather than scream that they have refused to say no to smelter, realize that if we cultivate an extended term operating agreement with the mine we can manage these things. I could go on, you get the picture, we need a little can do spirit, rather than ad nauseam rhetoric from the naysayers. Leadership should quell the hysteria, potential negative impacts are manageable, it will be fine – we just need to take charge and manage the opportunity.


MY PROFESSIONAL WEBSITE

Earlier Thinking
http://nthomson2.blogspot.ca/2013/06/kamloops-ajax-mine.html

Response to Mr. Walsh’s OpEd in Kamloops This Week
http://nthomson2.blogspot.ca/2015/06/ajax-mine-kamloops-have-courage-prosper.html

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Lynn says:
October 10, 2015 09:03am

I guess you stated it in your first few paragraphs, no matter what anyone says you are close minded. I grew up in a mining community and it was a wonderful place that gave us all a great standard of living. You state in your article that just because you are from here doesn't mean your opinion should count more than anyone else yet for most of your article that is all you talk about.

I think you should stick to the arm chair and leave the Mayor part to someone who knows what they are doing. Ajax needs to come. Close mindedness shows a lack of intelligence and selfishness, your family has jobs I guess you don't care about all of the parents who have to leave their families behind to work in other places.

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Mel Rothenburger says:
October 10, 2015 10:39am

I would suggest most people, including you and me, have made up their minds about Ajax. Does that mean most people are close-minded?

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shaun says:
October 7, 2015 07:58pm

boring, grow up rothenberger, this will happen in our time or the next generation, but it will happen

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Patty says:
October 7, 2015 10:21am

Well said Mel. You are the voice of reason. Thank you.

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Dennis Paget says:
October 6, 2015 03:28pm

Good inputs. We must keep the voice of logic alive against this stupid project. Yes, stupid. Again I recently read in the paper that a reader insists that we need to compare the mine to noise pollution around the City. What are these people smoking? It worries me that many of these types have access to a computer. If this mine goes ahead it will silently kill this City. The science is there, everywhere. It's too close. Go away! I'll keep talking against the mine; that's all I can do. If it goes ahead I will lie in front of the dozers and get carted off to jail. The Liberals in Victoria will call the shots on this and I believe their guns are already loaded, with lots of spin and allowing no input, aimed squarely at Kamloops.

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As Usual says:
October 6, 2015 03:27pm

BiancaR and Ajax Toobigtooclose, I have read over the Support Ajax Page regarding this opinion piece done by Mel Rothenburger and I find no slander whatsoever? What slander are you referring to BiancaR? Support Ajax commented on the "opinion piece" done on a subject that this journalist has also reported on several times. Mr. Rothenburger is in fact a reporter, does in fact run a online News site and has in fact written an opinion piece. What is slanderous about that?
Support Ajax simply asks the question regarding Reporting Ethics and then outlines their disgust in his comments towards other local media representatives.
Taken from support page....
The Canadian Association of Journalists states that reporters "lose our credibility as fair observers if we write opinion pieces about subjects we also cover as reporters".
Mr. Rothenburger is a reporter and he is very biased against AJAX and so his opinion piece puts into question his credibility. That's not Slander that's fact~

slan·der
/?sland?r/
noun
1.
the action or crime of making a false spoken statement damaging to a person's reputation

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Mel Rothenburger says:
October 6, 2015 05:08pm

The Canadian Association of Journalists also states, “Journalists have the duty and privilege to seek and report the truth, encourage civic debate to build our communities, and serve the public interest. We vigorously defend freedom of expression and freedom of the press as guaranteed under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.” I’ve been writing columns about civic issues in Kamloops for the past 45 years. Local journalists for other media also write about issues and organizations they have “covered” but the key is to provide fair, balanced, unbiased coverage when writing news, as opposed to personal opinion. That’s why it’s important to make certain the reader is made aware of when an article is the personal opinion of the writer, which I do by labeling it as my column or as an editorial.

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As Usual says:
October 6, 2015 06:28pm

Mel that all sounds great but you don't provide fair, balanced or unbiased coverage. You can write all the opinion pieces you want (freedom of expression) but you risk losing credibility within that topic. I think you have but then again thats just my opinion ;)

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Ajax Toobigtooclose says:
October 7, 2015 11:51am

As a columnist, expressing his opinion, Mel has gained much credibility in the discussion of this topic. He represents the views of many of us who love Kamloops and have invested our families and our work here and want to see it become better for everyone, not just for a few people who want jobs.

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KIm says:
October 5, 2015 08:24pm

About time you spoke out and said it like it is Mel.
Really appreciate you calling out the other media and vested interests who have so clearly been priming the Ajax pump.
This project is completely irresponsible and wrong on so many levels.

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Garrett says:
October 6, 2015 09:09am

I agree, do not let this project proceed and ruin this beautiful town

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Mae says:
October 5, 2015 05:55pm

A mine in this location and this size will forever change our beautiful city of Kamloops.it will be the death of our city as we know it

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Stacie says:
October 5, 2015 01:40pm

Great article Mel. I agree, this mine will change kamloops for the worse. I can't beleive the idea of this mine has been entertained for as long as it has...seems like a pretty common sense decision to me. As someone born and raised in kamloops and now a mom with young kids, I probably won't stick around if the mine is approved. I dont want my kids growing up exposed to the risks the mine will create.

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Jennifer says:
October 5, 2015 01:35pm

I am against this mine. Admittedly, people tend to have like-minded friends, but all of my friends except one are against this mine. My one friend who is in favor works in the mining industry. His wife is against the mine. So when people say the majority of people in this town are in favor of the mine, they certainly don't speak for the people I know. I sent in my 500 words to city council in their call for questions. They had to be in point form to make the word limit and i had to cut some out. I've written my local, provincial, and federal government representatives about my concerns. I'm not sure what else to do except vote and support articles like this. Please keep writing them

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Denis says:
October 5, 2015 01:29pm

Bravo Mel.
Our decisions going forward should all be inspired by the vision of sustaining future generations and a huge open-pit next to a major population centre certainly does not fit into that vision. The pro-pitters are either simply ignorant of the negative effects caused by all the previous open-pit mines, have absolutely no faith in the economic health of our diverse city, or they really enjoy the buzz of betting the farm on a big-time long shot. It's a huge risk. How can this mine proposal not have any negative health or quality of life impacts for our community? The "pro-Ajax" or "jobs at any cost" people are playing well beyond our acceptable limit.
As I have stated clearly before being elected to represent the good people living in our wonderful city...
It's Too Big, It's Too Close, It's Too Risky!

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Alf Shether says:
October 5, 2015 09:22am

Ok Mel now that you have vented I have to say that I disagree with ...... ummm ok now that I have accessed the little gray matter that allegedly resides between my ears I must say YOU ARE SO RIGHT!!!! I have seen a mining area in Arizona that everyone should take a tour of. It is mile after mile of stripped forest and o very ugly sight. The dust is incredible and it is in one of the most scenic (after you get past the mine) motorcycle roads I have had the pleasure of riding (highway 191) except of course for the mine. The proposed mine is just simply too close to Kamloops where I want to continue to live as well as my grown family. Keep up the fight!

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Kim Helm says:
October 5, 2015 08:57am

This is exactly how I feel...thanks for putting it to words Mel.

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Susan Eredics says:
October 5, 2015 08:42am

People and habitable environment are disregarded by this corporation. The people who are wanting jobs out of it are being fed a lie. I wholly oppose this mine. What Orwellian times we live in!

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Jennifer says:
October 5, 2015 08:25am

I agree Mel. 100%.

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Frank says:
October 5, 2015 08:24am

Great article Mel! About time someone called Ajax out about the BS they keep spewing.

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Trevor Smith says:
October 4, 2015 10:33pm

The thought that a journalist, editor, come mayor has the foresight and insight into business or the environment is unnerving. The media is very capable of playing both sides of the fence in this matter and to use it to their own personal benefit. What is needed is to be able to advance technological and social change with government and business in a partnership. Utilizing the economic value of our natural resources to find the finances to advance alternatives in the short term. Not shut down business so socialistic preferences tax us out of the opportunity to advance. We can all play politics but a media personnel come mayor, come spokesman for the supposed majority bothers me. I have no problem not being anonymous, just put your money where your mouth is, be honest.

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Kathy Humphreys says:
October 4, 2015 08:37pm

I'm so glad someone has the guts to say what the majority are thinking. I don't think this community is as divided on this as some are suggesting. We've come so far. Let's not take a giant step back!

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BiancaR says:
October 4, 2015 07:10pm

I just wanted to give you all a head's up that Mel is being harshly criticized in a way that may damage his reputation as a journalist on the Support Ajax facebook page. I just thought you should know so you would have the option of shutting it down - they aren't just fighting his ideas, they are attacking him personally and publicly.

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Ajax Toobigtooclose says:
October 5, 2015 07:28am

So thoughtful of you to allow Mel "the option of shutting it down". There is no reason Mel should not express his opinions in a column. The support Ajax site apparently cannot distinguish between journalists and columnists. Columnists are expected to express opinions - they are not news reporters. In respect to the personal attacks, the pro-pit people have always used ad hominem attacks, and they will continue.

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BiancaR says:
October 5, 2015 02:11pm

I thought some of it was slander. If Mel wanted, a quick note to their admin may have them delete the offending posts....

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Mike says:
October 6, 2015 10:08pm

I don't think you know the definition of slander BiancaR. Support Ajax didn't slander Mel and they are not responsible for the comments that other people make. If people don't like Mel's personal opinion then that is their right just like it was his right to write the dribble in the first place. Don't go scratching in the poop pile looking for diamonds just because you don't like the wave of support that just keeps growing in this city. And make not mistake Support is GROWING!!!!


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Ajax Toobigtooclose says:
October 6, 2015 08:50am

Sorry BiancaR, I misinterpreted your post. I agree with you that the support Ajax page is offensive towards Mel. I don't know about slander, but it's clearly nonsensical that a columnist has to be neutral. All the ethics stuff is just incorrect. I've noticed that the Ajax boosters often insult and make offensive comments about people that disagree with them. Instead of addressing the points, they insult the person. They use methods designed to bully and intimidate. I incorrectly interpreted your comments in that light.

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As Usual says:
October 9, 2015 04:24pm

Ajax Toobigtooclose said: "I've noticed that the Ajax boosters often insult and make offensive comments about people that disagree with them."

So by your description Mr. Rothenburger wrote an offensive and insulting opinion piece? I mean he called his fellow reporters "ass kissers and fence sitters" because they won't take up his position on the Ajax issue before the EA is complete? Whats more offensive or insulting than that?

This is just another example of how (in your own words), "they (Anti Ajax) use methods designed to bully and intimidate."

LOL

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Liz says:
October 4, 2015 06:00pm

Hey Mini Miner, please tell us names of operating open pit mines that are situated within 2 Kms of an urban community with a population of 90,000......you don't have to, it is none. Now it is time for you to pick up our pick and shovel and go to work!

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John Goldsmith says:
October 4, 2015 04:37pm

Read with interest all of the comments above following Mel's thoughtful and emotional article. The base line is stop Ajax which I fully agree with for all of the reasons published.
Normal economics should stop Ajex before the first pound of copper is mined. When KGHM picked up a controlling position in Ajax from a junior mining developer, Abacus Mining Corp, about 5 years ago a pound of copper sold for $4.58 per pound, Today copper is priced at $2.30 / lb. a reduction of 50%, a mining plan that calls for only 60,000 tonnes per day at the low grades available to Ajax is going to fail unless the Polish gov't likes to spend it's domestic tax dollars subsidizing their mine in Kamloops, BC. Someday in the not too distant future the Polish government may stop drinking the Cool Aid that the senior management group in BC is serving them and start asking the right questions. O'by the way, 80% of every pound of copper removal from the earth since the beginning of time is being used or is available for use. With the problems clearly surfacing in China and India, it will be a very long time before the price of copper comes anywhere near the $4.58/lb.
Even if Ajax obtains permits, which is not going to happen, because the citizens of Kamloops will join together to stop it (HEY HARRISON) this includes our Native friends, it will never get built because the owner will figure it out that they can not make enough money to send home to Warsaw.
In closing, Ajax management keep telling us that the science will protect us from the mining risks, to that I simply say bull shit, science has never been able to harness Mother Nature or control greedy owner/management and never will.

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DANO says:
October 4, 2015 11:20am

blah blah blah....the sky will fall. the earth will die...give me a break...fear monger mel...the majority of people do support the mine with proper conditions.....

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Scot says:
October 6, 2015 11:35am

Both sides say "the majority of people" support this side, or that. Of course we don't know who is in the majority! That's what this is all about! We're at the centre of a public relations storm, wherein both sides are trying to convince us to think one way, or another. I for one support Ajax. I have NO idea how many people think like me. I do however respect people, in that they're very welcome to their opinion, as I have mine. I'm getting quite tired of some people claiming that they're in the majority. Please stop, you just don't know! Please too, no matter how vehemently you support your side, temper your spirit with the knowledge that there are people on both sides with hidden agendas that only want to "rev you up" to do their bidding. Let's stick to the facts, have a practical discussion, and respect one another's opinion without making personal attacks.

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Hilda says:
October 5, 2015 08:25am

I do not support this mine and have only spoke to a few people.. mostly young people who do... and refuse to look at the big picture and see only the $$$ that ajax is waving around.... everyone says wait for the science...well I say listen to our Doctors who say "NO" it is not good for the people of Kamloops to live in a copper mine....I don't understand anyone who challenges them...as the Dr's have nothing to gain from saying NO to the mine..except more healthy patients (which is us).... who do you all go to when your sick a Dr or a miner?? please people think about it ...why endanger 90,000 people for the sake of maybe 200 jobs????

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Marly says:
October 6, 2015 08:52pm

What doctors - who are they as I know many who are just as adamant this would be good for the city and they are sporting their stickers etc. Just because a few sign a petition does not mean there is a majority. Kamloops physicians are like everyone else in this city "some for and some against" and some don't give a damn.

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BiancaR says:
October 4, 2015 12:56pm

How in the world would you know that? Are you a pollster?

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Marcia Dick says:
October 4, 2015 11:16pm

Danno, is 'blah blah blah' what you hear when you go to the doctor? Because it is mostly doctors who are saying 'blah blah blah''. Just because you don't understand something, doesn't make it less real.

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Born in the biggest mining town Canada says:
October 4, 2015 07:58am

As someone who was born in the heart of the Oil Sands, let me tell you that there are many reasons we should heed the advice from Mel here. We do need to stand up. Here's a bunch of issues being overlooked.

Jobs: They are only promising jobs for roughly 15 years. Do you think that's long enough to pay off the house that you will buy once you have a steady inflated pay check? Nope. So is your new family going to stay here in you new house of deflated value while you move onto the next mine and send the money home? Or do you move the family to the new mining town and take a loss on your house? And on the whole hiring process, do you think they will hire Joe-blow-Kamloops, instead of importing a specialist from one of the mines they've recently closed. Probably not.

Roads: who's going to pay to fix the roads once they truck in all of this super heavy equipment on public highways. The haul trucks will leave the highway rutted and dangerous. Who's going to pay to fix them? My tax dollars? I hope not. If you want to build a mine at least offer to fix the things you break on the way in. The oil sands were major contributors to the province of Alberta to fix the 480 Kim's of paved roads leading to their door step.

Community Kick-backs: Haven't heard of one. Your Syncrude's and your Suncor's (although no saints themselves) are constantly having new sporting/recreational facilities being build where they are impacting people. They give millions to the communities around them annually to help distract from the damage the do. Now Kamloops, doesn't need these facilities as we have them in spades, and our outdoor venues are amazing. So what are they going to kick back to the community? Anything? Or right, those few jobs they promised....yawn.

Agriculture: its why I moved here, and we can kiss it all goodbye. I won't even get started.

We're being blinded by dollars, and not very many of them. Let's get our heads out of our asses, so we don't ruin our land.

Let's do what Mel said and start taking s stand. Together.

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M Spooner says:
October 4, 2015 07:23am

Thank you Mel! You said it! How I wish you were still our Mayor. I am sickened by the thought that this mine will be pushed through. People are so ignorant... Don't they understand that jobs are temporary?! The damage this mine will do to our environment, and our lovely city, is permanent!

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Alan Bass says:
October 3, 2015 11:48pm

Good column, Mel.

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bob george says:
October 3, 2015 11:42pm

I,m not in favour of an open pit copper mine for the many real reasons already expressed. I have a question though.Where do I pick up my " NO AJAX " bumper sticker????????. I,d like two,one for me and one for the Mayor. YEH PETER.

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Jean Humphreys says:
October 4, 2015 08:47am

get hold of KAPA. They'll know about the Stop Ajax stickers.

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Jason Mewes says:
October 5, 2015 01:56pm

What about "Indifferent about Ajax" stickers?

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Cynthia Ross Friedman says:
October 5, 2015 04:40pm

Connect with me. You're someone I want to talk to. Email me: cross@tru.ca

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Ajax Toobigtooclose says:
October 3, 2015 11:02pm

Very well said Mel. Thanks for speaking out.
Clearly, the price of copper shows that there are more than enough copper mines already.
There's no pressing need to have a huge low grade open pit mine on the edge of our city.
It's also encouraging that the Secwepemc Nations are speaking out through the Courts.

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Terry Martin says:
October 3, 2015 10:29pm

As a frequent visitor to your beautiful area I can't believe some of the comments supporting the Ajax mine. I can't think of one modern city in Western Canada that would allow an open pit mine within the city limits for the sake of a few (and undetermined)number of jobs for local residents. I'm not against open pit mines in the right location but beware of "geeks" bearing gifts. Wake up Kamloops!

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Mini Miner says:
October 3, 2015 08:10pm

Many communities in this province have mines on their doorstep and are still good places to live and raise a family. I'm assuming all the nay sayers to this development do not rely on natural resources to maintain their lifestyles. Think again people, everything you need and want in your lives comes from the ground whether you like it or not. Resource extraction does change the landscape it's what was done to build the home you live in, the stores you shop in, the schools your kids go to, the hospital you visit, the boat launch you use, etc, etc, etc. We all know this but we still try to deny these things. Do you really believe we can have all these things and carry on having these things without changing the landscape somehow. You live in a dream world. Develop the mine.

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J Tilt says:
October 3, 2015 04:33pm

Exactly my thoughts. Thank you for expressing them so clearly Mel.

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Science Student says:
October 3, 2015 03:09pm

As someone who has studied natural resource science and management, a little bit of policy, and a bit of economics, I have a few points to make about Ajax Mine. Location, economics, and environment are some of the main issues with the mine.

Many people feel that the mine would be too close to town. When Highland Valley Copper Mine was developed and the town of Logan Lake was developed to house the workers near the mine, you cannot help but notice that Logan Lake was not built immediately adjacent to HVC. It was built approximately 12 km away, probably because people did not want to live next to the mine. Why not live next to the mine?-because of the dust. It does not take a degree to recognize the dust production of HVC. Even with giant covers erected over the ore piles, the amount of dust is incredible.

Another issue with the location is the ecosystem that will be impacted. To be fair this area has already suffered some impact, but nonetheless the Jacko Lake area produces some excellent wildlife and an incredible fishery. More importantly, the grasslands of BC provide critical habitat to ~1/3 of our endangered species. BC's grasslands are also where the majority of interior development has occurred, and yet cover only 1% of the province. Basically, we want to put a large open-pit mine on a type of land of which we have very little left AND houses a 1/3 of our endangered species.

I understand that in times of economic uncertainty, people want stable, high-paying jobs. I also understand the concept of jobs indirectly created by the mine (not just the direct hires). However, here are a few things to think about:
1) KGHM is a Polish company - I have nothing against the Polish, but I do not think Canadians are getting their money's worth when an international company profits from our resources. Sure, we will get a few jobs and even more indirect jobs, but the real money will be going to Poland.
2) The decline in property values in Aberdeen. Let's face it, you put a large open pit mine next to a community, and it is unlikely that property values are going to increase as a result. That is very unfortunate for those who invested in a house in Aberdeen.
3) Tourism. As much as some like to say Kamloops is a resource town, we also have a substantial tourism sector. We have put a lot of effort in to portraying Kamloops as the tournament captial of Canada. IF the mine created an air quality issue, I doubt Kamloops would be a good venue for outdoor sports anymore.
4) Correct me if I am wrong, but the latest I have heard is that Jacko Lake would be no more if the mine happens. I don't know if people have noticed, but Jacko Lake is one of the key early fisheries in Kamloops. That lake receives some of the highest fishing pressure in the area, AND it ices off early due to its low elevation. This would be a substantial loss to our recreational fisheries. The sum of freshwater recreational fisheries in BC is worth nearly a billion dollars annually to our economy. Our region accounts for 18% of the fishing activity in BC.

Finally, there is the environment. Most people say they are going to wait for the impact report. That is fine, but I hope you know someone who can critically evaluate the report. Skipping to the conclusions does not make a thorough evaluation. Unless you have the skills to assess whether the research methodology used was sound, you will have to take someone else's word for it.

One last note. Remember the Tsilhqot'in decision.

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P says:
October 5, 2015 04:10am

I think part of the problem with KGHM is cultural. I lived in Silesia (the Polish province where KGHM is based), and so many cities are either right beside, or right on top of coal mines -- Bytom is a good example. The major difference is that these operations are all underground and many have existed for hundreds of years. They are never going to understand the problem unless they live in Kamloops for some time, as those most concerned typically have. I'm not making excuses for them: I'm mostly trying to explain a big component of the company's apathy toward Kamloops.

Public input is largely being ignored because we keep putting corrupt people in power. If you want to be heard, then vote on October 19th. Mrs. McLeod has served for a long time but rarely deviates from Party lines, and the Conservatives want to sell this country to foreign interests one piece at a time. Christy Clark and her Liberals are just as bad -- note that the former Minister for Environment has been notably silent on the issue and happens to live in Kamloops. Next year we have a shot at ousting them too! If something matters to people this much they need to make sure their voices are heard on all levels and platforms, but at the moment ballots will speak louder than words.

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Daryl Paige says:
October 3, 2015 08:14pm

As a proud Teck retiree that made a very good living from Highland Valley Copper I want to inform you regarding the location of Logan Lake's proximity to the mine site. Logan Lake was built where it is only because the under ground aquifer was at that location it was large enough to support the community. Yes in spite of daily blasts for nearly 40 years the water is still some of the best in Canada!

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BiancaR says:
October 4, 2015 12:55pm

This may or may not be true. But, I personally know several miners at HVC who are very concerned about this mine project. They don't want to live 2 km from that mine and don't think we should have to either. In fact, even Richard Boyce is against Ajax and he is very pro-mining and pro-jobs by all accounts. Mining corporate profits should not come at a steep cost to the community next door. HVC and Ajax are not the same; Ajax does not represent responsible mining - it represents the opposite in my opinion.

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Steve knudson says:
October 3, 2015 04:00pm

Great letter rational and well written
Thank you

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Sean McGuinness says:
October 3, 2015 02:12pm

Good for you Mel. It's time to take the gloves off.

The insanity of this proposed mine couldn't have been more apparent when a city official began the forum last week by reading a list of all the potential issues associated with the Ajax mine, a process which took at least half and hour. Imagine a home inspector taking the same amount of time to read a list of the potential problems associated with a house you were considering buying, Would you still be interested?

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Pierre Filisetti says:
October 3, 2015 10:45am

Ass kissers and fence sitters? The science of bullshit?
I love it!
This editorial should be made into a rocking tune...this note's for you!

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Anton Niedersteiner says:
October 3, 2015 10:43am

There is a very strong premise that Kamloops will benefit from numerous high paying, long term, full time jobs. I haven't seen any guarantees at all of this. When the pulp mill was built they promised many good jobs and at the beginning there were hundreds. Now there are less than one tenth of that, yet we still contend with the stigma and stench of that mill.

About Ajax; that ore is very low grade which means continuously blasting up a lot of rock. By the way, we don't get to use the copper, it's exported, mainly to China. (Perhaps a small royalty will go to the province, similar to what Alberta got for their oil.) So, KGHM comes into our back yard, makes a huge mess, wrecks the vibrancy of our city, and takes our copper and gold for their profit. In exchange they give us the promise of a few good jobs.

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Mark Peterson says:
October 5, 2015 10:16am

I like how the supporters are thinking they Ajax will provide all eligible unemployed citizens with guarantied jobs right out of the gate.

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Snuffy the SEAL says:
October 3, 2015 10:30am

Your stance on the mine and other issues are well known. I particularly like your "black hole in the ground comment". Have you ever been to those pits or the Trojan Lakes ? Heard of "gravity" or "rain" ?...those holes can be or do fill up.( with either water, tailings or both) In case you and others haven't noticed, these aren't those halcyon days of yore, when the McLean's ran roughshod over the sage....different time / different place. We have an expanding population who need jobs...good jobs. Where do you propose we get them ? (anywhere but here, correct ?) I guess we could all work for the gov't and further run up the debt. Are you one of those (gasp) nimby's we hear about ? How do we grow our economy with attitudes like that....or is the world supposed to stay in a time warp because some people are pining away for the Old Days ? Whatever, I will wait for the process to be complete before freaking out...but I guess that's just me. Nice to see you shedding your Kamloops Daily News image, though and resorting to name calling those who don't agree with you. ( i always knew you had a touch of "normal human being" in you somewhere....and there it is..lol) "gigantic open pits"....heavy sigh....what are lakes ? (answer:...low spots in the ground where gravity allows water to accumulate) Nothing like a good, old fashioned rant, Mel. Have a nice day....and calm down a touch. If Ajax is approved AND BUILT....the world will not come to an ungodly end, will it ? (well...maybe part of yours and KRAPPA's will ) I'm surprised you didn't get an invite...imagine that.

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Stop Ajax Mine says:
October 3, 2015 09:13pm

Snuffy, how does the rest of the world get by without mines on their doorsteps? We do not need this mine for our economy... Look at Timmins? Do you want to live somewhere like that? If so, then move there!

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Don Ferguson says:
October 3, 2015 04:12pm

Nice to see that Mel can rant and attach his own name to it. Anonymous opinions are worth zero.

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BiancaR says:
October 3, 2015 11:54am

Funny - I walked up to the old test pits - Ajax East and West to see. They haven't filled in with water despite operations being ceased 20 years ago. It makes sense to be a nimby when your health, environment and quality of life is at risk. We are not talking about a small development we don't agree with. We are discussing a huge open pit mine on the edge of town! The premise is crazy - it is bizarre that it has proceeded this far!

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mine supporter says:
October 3, 2015 10:23am

Most of Kamloops supports this mine as we all know it will not only create direct jobs but indirect jobs to every sector of our community. Mel you have every right to put your "spin" on this but so does most of Kamloops that supports Ajax.

Think of the families who are not home raising their children, leaving to other provinces to work.. People say if you cant get a job at hvc or new gold then you wont get a job at ajax either... well that's because there are not enough jobs for the supply and demand. Kamloops has a high unemployment rate and Ajax would change that. Think of our elders who need care, the children that need proper nutrition, the students who need funding and work when they are completed their studies. Think about how HVC has helped its community with donations. HUGE DONATIONS like the ones made to our hospital in Kamloops. Ajax will do this as well. Support Ajax !

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Carolyn says:
October 3, 2015 04:57pm

What on earth are you talking about that most of Kamloops is in favour of this mine? Ridiculous, the majority of questions and concerns brought forward at the city's placating meeting on Monday were totally against the mine. We did find out some very interesting facts that you Pro-Ajax should have listened or at least caught on to ( might have been a little foggy from your pre meeting appetizer and "drinks") anyway let me re-state what was front and centre 1. Ajax says they will improve housing sales by 300 new families/people moving to our city (means no jobs locally, correct) 2. Mayor Milobar has absolutely no say or control of anything to do with this mine. Therefore, he cannot protect his constituents but more importantly Ajax will not adhere to any guidelines or rules and regulations set out by city council. Just one more bend over and take it Kamloops scenario!! Oh and one more thing, Ajax says they will maybe institute a "hotline" for residents who have complaints re: noise, vibrations, structural damage, breathing problems, etc. what a joke, someone to sit there fielding 1000's of calls and they are going to send someone out to address these issues when they have absolutely no mandate to do these things because once they get the go ahead, kamloopsians are their Bitches! Wake up Kamloops! Perhaps while the Mayor is on his Japanese vacation with councillors, paid for by Kamloopsians, we need to force our government to wake up and pay attention to our destruction here!!

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Agnes Jackson says:
October 3, 2015 09:52am

This could be just another of 'not in my backyard comments' but in not so sure we need the mine or the copper. I've heard comments that we have enough copper and they we need only to recycle more efficiently. We do Not need the dust or the big black hole. Science or not sometimes common sense is the answer.

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