Late applicants granted interested party status

South Cariboo will be a significant voice in New Prosperity review

Despite missing the Sept. 28, 2012 deadline for submitting an application, 20 additional applicants have been granted interested party status in the environmental panel review of the proposed New Prosperity copper-gold project in the Chilcotin.

One-quarter of the new applicants are from the South Cariboo and all five of them believe the project will provide a much needed economic boost for 100 Mile House.

Although these applications were received after the deadline, each applicant has included an explanation as to why the submission was late, and in a March 8 letter, panel chair Bill Ross stated the new applications were considered in light of the panel’s mandate and terms of reference.

Among the new applicants added to the interested party list are 100 Mile House Mayor Mitch Campsall, the South Cariboo Chamber of Commerce, Nick Christianson, Frank Dobbs and Al Roberts.

They join Len Doucette, Patricia Spencer and Gary Young who were already on the list.

South Cariboo Chamber of Commerce president Tom Bachynski said he was excited to learn he will be able to speak on behalf of Prosperity Mine as far as the chamber of commerce is concerned.

“We’re hosting the open house [at 100 Mile Community Hall this Saturday (March 16) from 1 to 4 p.m.]. I think there’s value to have this conversation on Prosperity and we’re happy to be on the list of people who can speak to it.

“Our belief is that it is a good project and they have done the study and due diligence to make sure our environment is protected. As long as the environment is protected and jobs are created and tax money is brought into the province, it’s a good project and it should go ahead.”

He noted the community has to find a way to make 100 Mile House more substantial in that process.

Campsall said he knows council supports the New Prosperity project.

“We need to make sure all of the environmental issues are taken care of and they are working with the First Nations.

“We need it for our community and they have to look after the environment and I believe that they have done that.”

Roberts said he felt it was imperative to get on the list, and as a 31-year businessman who has raised his children in 100 Mile, he is concerned about businesses and schools closing.

“[In my letter], I was emphatic about the future of the community and it’s very important to me.

“I really, for the sake of our community, want to see it go forward responsibly. I think it’s very critical to our longevity as a community … we can continue declining as a community or we can flourish.”

Roberts added the community will flourish with the New Prosperity Mine because it will bring in many jobs.

Noting he was an interested party during the review of the original Prosperity Mine review, Christianson said he was one of the few local people who spoke at the hearings in 100 Mile House.

He added he was one of 10 people from the area who went to Ottawa with Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo MP Cathy McLeod to speak to cabinet ministers about the importance of the mine to the Cariboo-Chilcotin economy.

Christianson said the federal review panel changed the process a bit, so that’s why he had to make a late application.

“We thought they were having hearings in 100 Mile again, so we could just go and speak. I wasn’t aware they had closed it off.

“When I saw who was on it, there were 43 and you could surmise that out of the 43, 40 were against the project. After we realized we had missed the deadline, a number of us got together and reapplied, and we were lucky a few of us got on.”

Christianson said he believes the recent South Cariboo applicants will give the panel members a more even view of things.

“When you get groups like Amnesty International and some of these that have no vested interest in the project at all and they’re just there to complain for the sake of complaining, it leaves the rest of us who are local with very little input into it.”

Dobbs said he believes the mine should be a “no-brainer.”

“We need the money for the community. It will provide the jobs and they’ve done all the environmental work.

“Everybody in this community needs the input of more jobs in the area and that’s the best place to get jobs at this time. It’s just unbelievable the money it will bring in with jobs to the communities of Williams Lake and 100 Mile.”

Dobbs added he applied to speak to the panel because he wants to see businesses flourish in 100 Mile House and Williams Lake.

“Everybody should have their opinion and every opinion has merit.”

Panel chair Ross said the panel hearings will not be held in either Quesnel or 100 Mile House due to restricted time; however, he added people can attend the hearings in Williams Lake or submit a written response.

“Participants who simply wish to make an oral presentation at the hearing do not need to register as an interested party.”

Instead, Ross noted they can register to make an oral presentation in the General or Community hearing sessions once dates and places have been set.