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Many views on proposed Ajax mine
It may not be scientific, but the latest community survey on the proposed Ajax copper and gold mine has a strength previous polls can’t match — numbers.
“We’re super-pleased with the volume,” said Brad Harrison, president of the Kamloops Voters Society (KVS).
The society’s online survey, which ran from Oct. 7 to Oct. 14, attracted more than 2,800 entries.
Once duplicates were weeded out, Harrison said, that left 2,744 responses.
Previous surveys have generated only a few hundred responses.
“It just shows that people in the community, whether they’re pro or con, there’s a number of people definitely concerned or interested who want to express their opinion and they’re using this format to do so,” Harrison said.
While the poll showed more opposition to Ajax than support — with 57 per cent against the mine compared to 37 in favour — the survey results show there are plenty of opinions about how the project might affect the city.
More residents strongly agreed or agreed the mine would create more jobs than it would destroy in the city.
However, more than 50 per cent of respondents also strongly disagreed with statements that the mine would have positive impacts on tourism and Kamloops’ Tournament Capital image.
More than 40 per cent of respondents said they strongly believed dust or particulates from the mine will negatively impact their neighbourhood.
But, for questions about light, sound and slope-stability impacts, community opinions varied widely, with many respondents opting for neutral answers or selecting, “I don’t know.”
“The takeaway for me is that folks want more information,” Harrison said.
“They want access to information and they want to have their voice heard.”
Based on survey results, Harrison suggested that airing of views could come in the form of a referendum.
Asked whether the city should hold a community vote on the mine, 63 per cent of respondents said yes.
“If I was the city and 60 per cent of 2,500 people said they wanted you to have a referendum, I would pay attention to that,” Harrison said.
According to data breakdown posted to the KVS website, more than 60 per cent of respondents were between the ages of 40 and 69.
They were slightly more likely to live in Aberdeen — which accounts for 22 per cent of responses.
Because of the high volume of responses, Harrison said KVS plans to break down data further, studying how concerns around the mine vary from neighbourhood to neighbourhood.
KGHM Ajax spokeswoman Robin Bartlett said the company appreciates the KVS’s desire to engage the community about the mine, noting the survey results are useful for the mine’s proponents.
“They’re giving us an opportunity once again to see what those issues are, if there’s anything that hasn’t been addressed in the past that can potentially be addressed in the future,” she said.
“And they’re providing us with opportunity to continue to work through those information pieces.”
For the full results of the survey visit kamloopsvoterssociety.ca.