In reviewing my daily Ajax inflow of data a few current points came to mind. There is a community of NO within our community, no matter what is put forward they show up with predictable rhetoric that would have one believe that this time the sky really was falling down. On the Ajax issue, they are alive and engaged. There are people who have legitimate concerns, the Aberdeen residents and other proximal residents have been active here as they perceive the potential for negative impacts. There are the First Nation’s issues coming to the fore. However, the community of no have once again ignited can’t do spirit and they seem to be gaining ground, like the political negative campaign; it is very hard to counter.
The benefits of Ajax are there, however, they are held juxtaposed to video of a mushroom cloud of red dust begging the observer to “imagine what’s in there”, a fear campaign that makes astrology look credible. That image is in no way indicative of would could be done at Ajax if proper mitigation were in place.
When going to college I took a job putting in swimming pools, in one instance the pool had to go where solid rock was – right beside a house in a residential subdivision – the blaster drilled and blasted a hole with no ill affect on surrounding homes. I know people who have spent their entire lives working right in mines – in the mills that process the ore, who have lived long and healthy lives. I’ve spent my life around the land and seen nature manage most everything with time. Are there things to be concerned about with Ajax yes, the key is to ensure they’re managed properly and they can be.
To Mel Rothenburger’s point with respect to the press in his recent post, the press has been somewhat creditable I can grant him that, with respect to the hyperbolic NO propaganda I have to give a thumbs down. The NO community within a community, were effective here at curtailing what could have been a regional draw in the form of a waterfront hotel and conference center and now they are at work without reserve on Ajax. Thanks in large measure to their efforts, until recently we were losing our young people to other jurisdictions where opportunity exists. The out migration never slowed because of efforts in Kamloops, it slowed because falling oil prices and more folly elsewhere causing a general state of reduced opportunity. Mel’s right, this issue is toxic, so much so I had to put it away for a while – then I remembered, I believed if managed properly the mine can be net positive for Kamloops, so someone has to say Yes, and resurrect the CAN DO SPIRIT.
I would encourage the First Nations people to look closely here, as it is emblematic of a lot that is going on around the province. Ask yourselves, is my life better than it was when the treaty process started 20 odd years ago. Look around, are the First Nations people’s living standards at par with the rest of the population. Exactly who has benefited from 20 years of court battles, supreme court decisions that have cemented conflict into First Nations’ interface with the non-native community. You know the First Nations’ interest have yet to be served, you know the people who rely on the land for a livelihood have been restricted or have lost opportunity. So who is benefiting? If I were a member of the First Nations’ community, the next time the environmental movement comes looking for an ally, I would ask them to show me a living standard at par with the rest of the population or get lost, but that’s just me I guess.
Ajax if done quickly, and under the direction of an operating agreement that ensures the city’s interests are addressed with veto rights on some operation imperatives, can result in a good outcome for us here. If managed properly, in what amounts to a very short time in the context of the city’s life; there can be a premium land development left there, with an enhanced environmental circumstance. We should have an open mind, there could be a better Goose Lake around the corner. We need all the opportunity we can get in Kamloops. If Ajax happens properly in few years, the tourism industry will be unscathed, TRU will be bigger and better financed and Kamloops will prosper – one can only hope.
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