Tracy Hendry, Vice President of the Kamloops Astronomical Society, had the following comments on the recent Ajax Open House:
I attended the Ajax Mine Open House on Monday evening, February 6th. There were security personnel in the hall outside the room and a table where one could sign in. There was a greeter just inside the door who kindly informed me what the set-up of the room was, where to find the people I needed to talk to and where to find the computer stations where I could provide comments if I wished. There were also information hand-outs to take. There were probably about 40 to 50 people in the room when I arrived. There were several “stations” set up around the room on different topics regarding the Application Information Requirements (AIR), and AIR documents were provided for sign-out at the back of the room. At each station, there were ministry and Ajax representatives who were willing to have discussions and who provided answers to my questions.
On the light pollution issue, I spoke to an Ajax rep and Jim Whittaker who said that they have taken note of the issue and intend to do what they can to use appropriate lighting wherever they are able, but of course they have to be compliant with Worksafe BC requirements at all times, so some lighting issues are likely to remain a concern for Kamloops Astronomical Society. I was advised that we need to provide some metrics for the current dark sky conditions at the Stake Lake Observatory so we have a baseline to go by before the mine starts up, if indeed it goes ahead. That way we will be able to measure impacts in a more meaningful and quantifiable way.
Overall, I found the atmosphere to be friendly and informative, and I certainly received encouragement to submit specific questions and comments on the AIR before the deadline in March. There were lots of experts in the room and all were willing to engage in respectful and meaningful conversations.