Living on the edge: Kamloops council to tour cities next to open-pit mines – by Brendan Kergin (Info – March 16, 2016)

KAMLOOPS – A couple members of council will get to go on a field trip after agreeing to tour open-pit mines next to other Canadian cities.

Following a presentation by Mining Watch Canada and a motion by Coun. Denis Walsh yesterday, March 15, council voted to send at least two of their members to Malartic, Que. and Timmins, Ont. to view the mines on the borders of those towns.

The presentation by Mining Watch Canada centred around the experiences of Diane Gangon, who discussed the open-pit gold mine next to Malartic. Gangon described a negative impact on the health of Malartic citizens and the environment around them due to dust and the noise of explosions. She said the impacts have led citizens of the small town to consider a class action suit against the mine operator.

Coun. Denis Walsh suggested a tour of the mine to get a look at the real life impacts of mines near cities while the proposed Ajax Mine is still in the assessment period. The motion was expedited during the meeting so councillors have the opportunity to make the trip before the city has to make a decision on whether or not to support the mine.

“You can say it’s a smaller city but I think there’s going to be some very similar situations that you can get some insights to,” Walsh said. “It’s a great opportunity, we should go see those cities.”

While the topography is different and it’s not perfectly analogous to Kamloops, Walsh said Malartic offers an idea as to what the proposed copper and gold mine on Kamloops southwest border could look like.

Coun. Arjun Singh asked they send councillors who have not yet stated a stance on the mine, because they are those most likely to have an open mind about what is observed and they may form a more solid opinion afterwards.

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