Response to John Mazure's letter Oct.13 2011

Posted by Stop Ajax Mine on October 19th, 2011 6:31am

The following letter was sent by Dr. Judith Naylor to the Daily News in response to John Mazure Acting Executive Director, Environmental Assessment Office, Victoria, again saying why it is necessary for Kamloops Citizens to receive the best Environmental Assessment for the protection of the Health of the citizens, and consideration of all the effects on the Environment. The first class assessment is without any doubt, the Federal Assessment, as shown in the following letter.

Here is a link to the original letter posted to the daily news by John Mazure.

Kamloops News

I wish to respond to the October 13th letter from John Mazure, Acting Executive Director of the BC Environmental Assessment Office, about the B.C. government’s environmental assessment process that supposedly is "thorough, transparent and comprehensive", including "extensive public consultation."

According to the Northwest Institute legal review by Mark Haddock: "Comparison of the British Columbia and Federal Environmental Assessments for the Prosperity Mine", in the case of the Prosperity Mine reviews, the province held two three hour open house sessions and provided written comment periods. In contrast the federal panel that was appointed to review the project decided that the information provided to date was inadequate and required the proponent to submit additional information before holding 30 days of public hearings where 320 people made presentations, and where questions were asked in a non-adversarial manner.

It is important to note how the province responded to this superior assessment process. According to the Northwest Institute report (pp. 11-12):

"It is clear from the Federal Review Panel report that evidence it received during the hearing influenced its deliberations. But by this time the Province had already approved the project on January 14, 2010 and refused to participate in the Panel hearings. The upshot of this is that the Province made its decision [to approve the mine] on the basis of a deficient evidentiary record. In deciding that it had all the information it needed to make a decision, BC closed its mind to the possibility of new evidence coming forward. It was some of this evidence that the Federal Review Panel relied upon to make its broader findings of significant adverse effects."

This July, B.C. Auditor General John Doyle "found that the information currently being provided to the public" by John Mazure’s office, "is not sufficient to ensure accountability." Doyle then stated that he is encouraged that the government had appointed a Director of Strategy and Quality Assurance "to address some of the noted deficiencies" in how the B.C. EAO operates.

Should the citizens of Kamloops trust John Mazure’s belief that the "environmental assessment process led by the EAO is comprehensive, objective and open, and provides opportunities for the public to obtain timely information about the proposed projects and to provide comments in a meaningful manner’? Such soothing words sound almost seductive.

Recent experience suggests otherwise. On August 14th KAPA representatives met with Kamloops City Environmental Manager Jen Fretz, who is the City’s sole representative on Mazure’s vaunted 45 member Working Group. At this meeting, KAPA representatives were told that the Working Group had received a copy of Ajax’s test blast results that took place in January of this year. When asked for a copy of this report, Ms. Fretz said that she couldn’t release it. Why? That is a question for Kamloops City Council.

On September 19th, KAPA researcher, Don Barz, sent an email to Nicole Vinette, a member of the Working Group and an employee of the EAO, asking what the protocol is for releasing documents the proponent has already submitted to the WG or cited in its Project Description, including the aforementioned blasting report. As of October 14th, there has been no response to this email.

It is KAPA’s view that the citizens of Kamloops need to be aware that the B.C. Government does not "walk the talk" when it comes to providing "open" and "timely information". I am not assured in the slightest by Mazure’s letter that the Ajax proposal will be properly assessed by the present assessment process, and for this reason I strongly urge Kamloops area residents to write to federal Environment Minister Peter Kent requesting that he appoint a review panel for the Ajax project.

Dr Judith Naylor FRCP(C)
528, Hemlock Street,
Kamloops.V2C 1C5


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