Another Letter in Response to Terry Lake

Posted by Michael Hewitt on November 9th, 2011 9:18am

The following letter was sent to the Kamloops Daily News regarding Terry Lake's recent comments about the proposed KGHM Ajax mine and the provincial assessment process that is underway. 

Dear Editor:

The recent comments in the media attributed to the Hon. Terry Lake regarding the environmental assessment of the Ajax project cannot go unquestioned. Mr. Lake insists that the "transparent" Comprehensive assessment is the best process for the Ajax Project. This  statement is made despite the BC Environmental Assessment Office's (EAO) sorry record with regard to the Prosperity Mine assessment, and despite the BC Auditor General's scathing criticism of the EAO's past performance, particularly regarding the lack of public transparency. Mr. Lake is quoted as saying that a federal review panel, the top level of assessment, is not necessary for Ajax and the city of Kamloops. A lower level of assessment is, apparently, good enough for Kamloops. His claims of "neutrality" seem to be set aside when he wishes to try to influence municipal politicians.  He apparently believes that the Kamloops City Council is incapable of making a decision in the best interests of its citizens regarding Ajax. 

The BCEAO states on its web site that the guiding principles regarding environmental assessment are fairness, transparency, inclusiveness, comprehensiveness and efficiency. That sounds very impressive. So how did the June 16, 2011 EAO/CEAA public meeting to review the Ajax Proposal measure up to those principles?

The person chairing the meeting announced that those members of the public wishing to ask questions should have registered their names as they entered the room. Further, the number of persons allowed to ask questions would be limited to 12. Over 400 people in the room, but only 12 people allowed to ask questions! That was the sum total of public participation permitted by EAO. Now, there's a great way to demonstrate the commitment to fairness, comprehensiveness, inclusiveness and transparency! By the way, has anyone ever asked the EAO whether it has an official transcript of this very important June 16th meeting?

How can such a meeting possibly be called a fair, comprehensive and inclusive approach to allowing the public to raise their concerns or express their views?  The meeting was, however, a blatantly transparent manoeuvre designed to exclude the public from any significant participation in the assessment process, and made a mockery of the concepts of fairness, comprehensiveness, inclusiveness and transparency. 

Since that meeting the EAO has consistently declined to respond to requests for information which clearly should be in the public domain. Such requests are met with silence. This is  Transparency?  One example of the total lack of transparency concerns the Ajax blast test results. These results were given to the EAO working group weeks ago by KGHM, but cannot be released to the public until KGHM consents to their release, which KGHM has not done. 

All of the above simply reinforces the view of many Kamloopsians that the KGHM-Ajax project should be subject to a federal review panel, the best environmental assessment process available, as less likely to be subject to political influence. Kamloopsians deserve no less.

Michael Hewitt.



Forever on 2011-12-15 01:25:21

I am forever indebted to you for this inoafrmtion.

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