Forum crowd agrees — stop proposed Ajax mine
A receptive audience that filled the Alumni Theatre at Thompson Rivers University on Sunday, Sept. 9, heard a message with which most everyone appeared to agree — the proposed Ajax copper and gold mine must be stopped.
Derek Cook, who teaches political science at Thompson Rivers University, said the gathering was the first of what will be monthly forums looking at various aspects of the proposed project south of Aberdeen.
He said the series is a reflection of the academic freedom enjoyed at the university.
On Sunday, Oct. 14, the forum will focus on the environmental-assessment process, while on Friday, Nov. 16, Alain Deneault, author of a book on mining in Canada, will speak.
The first forum this past weekend featured a group of local people speaking on the proposal, including Coun. Donovan Cavers, TRU business professor Shahriar Hasan, Don Barz of the Kamloops Area Preservation Association and children’s book author Elma Schemenauer, TRU science professor Cindy Ross-Friedman and TRU chaplain George Feenstra.
Each gave a brief presentation and then answered questions from the audience, ranging from the possibility of a referendum on the mine — something Cavers said is unlikely to happen — to the possibility Pineview Valley might also be eyed for a mine — a rumour Cavers said he has also heard, but on which he has no information.
Hasan, who told the group he had agreed to speak two days before the forum date, said there would be good economic results if the mine proceeds, but noted that, as a resident of Aberdeen with a child who goes to school in that area, having a mine less than a mile south of the neighbourhood concerned him.
Barz told the audience there is plenty of information available online about the mine and KGHM, the Polish company promoting the project, and encouraged them to read as much about it as they can and to send their concerns to Environment Minister Terry Lake, who is also B.C. Liberal MLA for Kamloops-North Thompson.
One member of the audience asked what will happen with any documentation sent to Lake should his party not form the government after the May 2013 election.
Cook said it would be up to Lake to decide what he passed on to his successor.
However, Lake told KTW that all information being submitted on the project from the public is going to the environmental-assessment office and not to his ministry.
The office remains independent from the minister, Lake said, and he will receive information at the end of the assessment process.