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July 31, 2007

Comments

Mayor Quimby

Way to go Arjun, a city this size shouldn't have the smog that we do have here.

Chris

I agree with your leadership on this one. Economic based decisions are always the easy way out for politicians. Leadership has to look beyond this (triple bottom line, sustainable development, etc.).

As to the specific issue, yes, Domtar will likely continue to delay. It appears there is no reason not to.

Skylark

Ouch, Council...

Ouch, IHA...

So many workers needed in the community and jobs is the rational used regardless? Sigh.

Greg

I support your decision Arjun. Great job in being the lone rider and voting no. The only way for sustainable industry, environment and high living standards is by taking slow and steady steps forward. This would include forcing Domtar/Weyerhaeuser to reduce emissions. This would cause the private sector to invest in better technology and give the government a source of revenue if the private sector refuses to comply. Lots of people call Kamloops Smell-Loops because of Domtar/Weyerhaeuser. How many tourism dollars does the city loose from this reputation? How many tournaments does the city loose from this reputation? The city loses tax revenue from the 2% hotel tax we currently have and the user fees the tournaments pay to use our facilities. That is a lot of money lost and then forced upon property owners which are already heavily taxed. Lets start forcing accountability to the real culprits and lets start taxing them to death if they decide to ruin our city with bad smells and our health with particulate matter in our atmosphere. As Arjun said this is the best time to do it because of our economy. If Domtar/Weyerhaeuser shuts down those skilled trades workers will be quickly be absorbed due to a net shortage within Kamloops currently.

Mark Crawford

Hi Arjun. I can see your point, and I consider human health to be our first priority. However, many employees, despite possibly seeking apprenticeships through the pulp mill as pipefitters, millwrights, electricians, etc. are doing the jobs that require knowledge of this particular mill to keep the mill running. That is, the skill set of a pulp mill worker in Kamloops without a trade is not transferrable to any other industry within this city. Also, the drop in family income that would result from laying off a pulp mill worker without a trade would be substantial - even in this booming economy. I understand that having particulates in our air is not good, and also that investing in technology to reduce these particulates is distinctly Domtar's responsibility, but we should be careful when wishing for a profitable pulp mill to no longer operate in this city. I'm not sure how to make my own toilet paper, and until then I'll probably have to rely on the pulp and paper industry to keep doing what it does. Industry will always make air dirty, and people will always live near industry. Supposedly there are very efficient pulp mills in poorer nations - should we just shut down all of the pulp mills in Canada and the other G8 countries and allow the poorer ones to breathe more particulates?

Mickael Maddison

Ridiculous! I agree with your take on this Arjun. If Domtar is considering shutting down the mill, they're not going to upgrade it. If they are considering shutting down the mill, an extension on their pollution control compliance is not going to change their minds either. If the mill is making them money and their analysts see a future for it, then they'll comply.

I know it's human nature to resist change. When we have something that seems good we have a hard time letting it go when we're not sure that something else could be better. In this case they had 7 years to reach compliance. That's 7 years of pollution into our community that they are not and never will be accountable for.

Domtar shutting down the mill WILL hurt the city economy in the short term. It may even cause a significant problem for the mid -term. Kamloops has enough industry, talent and opportunity to recover.

Way to stand up for the right choice Arjun.

kim

We are glad that you took the stand that you did on the pulp mill. I hate seeing the stack at the mill spewing out posions that settle into our valley.

Joey Jack

I agree with you matey.

Kathy Dupuis

So we all agree that the pulp mill is stinkey and spewing dangerous stuff - but how much money would EACH of us be ready to pay to have it gone?

You may be smug about the fact that you personally don't make any money from the mill - and maybe you don't play softball, hockey, or soccer (or poker!) with anyone who works there.

And maybe you don't sell them or their families any goods or services - maybe you don't rely on any of those people to come see you perform, buy your artwork, volunteer at your school fair etc.

But if you own a house or property in Kamloops, you'd be paying a hell of a lot more in taxes every year without that mill. Someone talked about a 2% hotel tax driving away tourists - I wonder what a 10% increase in property tax would do for people looking to relocate here? There is so much whining already when taxes go up for something.

How would Kamloops look to a business crunching the numbers without the huge taxes coming in from Domtar?

There are thousands of businesses in town that rely on the mill as a major source of income as well that would suffer - for example, they hire engineering firms to do groundwater and hydrogeological studies every year.

I'm sure Arjun knows this and his stance was a brave one. I support it and am willing to pay more every year to do it.

My worry is for the families losing their jobs - not just at the mill but also the ones that domino down. How can we best help them?

Steve Urquhart

Arjun,

I don't know a thing about this particular issue. But I know a lot about representative government. And you are the man! As an elected official, you have to vote "yes" or "no" on tough and complex issues. Your constituents are fortunate that you don't hide from them, but, rather, you engage them in that tough decision-making process. Keep up the conversation and good work!

Debbie Anderson

Thanks Arjun for thinking of quality instead of quantity. Maybe Councillors should start thinking of not what would disappear if the pulp mill shut down but more of what might appear. For example, an article in the Kamloops News a week or so ago stated that a lot of tournaments or was if conferences were not coming to Kamloops. After reading it my thoughts were along the line of who wants to come to Kamloops. It is what it is, a stinky ol pulp mill town. Tourism isn't going to a major economic player as long as we have the pulp mill thats for sure. Everyday that I wake up to the smell I ask myself "what I am doing living here, how healthy can this be for my family?". I think we need to ask how much more potential does Kamloops have if it didn't have the pulp mill. Like you say lets get rid of it now while the economy is good and move forward.

lal sharma

deararjun,as i told your dad last night,we're so proud of your stand on the local pulp mill. it takes courage but then it should come as no surprise.with a name like arjun, the great epic warrior,you have what it takes to stand up to all these bullies and cowards. keep your chin up and carry on fighting the good fight.i wish you all the luck. lal

Richard

I am shocked by your comments recently about your wishes for Domtar to close it's pulpmill here in Kamloops. What are you thinking? Have you no interest in the income they provide to our community, not only through tax base, but also through the the direct and indirect spending the mill provides to it's employees and thousands of other persons in this city who's work is directly affected by the mills operation. Perhaps you are not directly effected financially by the mills operation, but thousands of residents here are. Have you pondered about how much planning must go into a major capital project Domtar is facing? Shame on Weyerhaeuser for neglecting Kamloops, but for heavens sake, give Domtar a chance. You need to be careful about what you wish for, there are not enough environmentalists in this city to keep you on board next term.

Ken McClelland

Arjun, I don't think your comments indicating that it really wouldn't be the end of the world if Domtar closed down because the economy is good and those people could find new jobs with no trouble, are very productive. Domtar employees have houses, mortgages, kids in sports, etc., not to mention spouses working for other companies in our community. I agree that their emissions permit work should be monitored closely, but not at the expense of losing this good corporate citizen and the significant contribution they make to our local tax base. That, too, would be a pretty big hole to fill in the municipal budget. While the mill was operated by Weyerhaeuser, they made substantial donations in the way of sponsorships, gifts and grants to many worthy organizations in our community. Lets not forget about that for the sake of not meeting the letter of the emissions permit under a pre-determined time-line that does not account for varying economic conditions. All has not been rosy in the world of pulp and paper production for several years, and prices have only recently started to once again allow a modest profit.

Sarah

I understand and support that Domtar needs pressure to keep up with environmental requirements put before them, however, as a citizen of Squamish and the wife of a former Western Pulp employee in Squamish, I STRONGLY urge you to perhaps come to Squamish and speak to the families of Woodfibre (the ones that are left here) before making such final decisions in your mind. Squamish has suffered greatly in the loss of what was the last industry providing union wages and benefits in our town. Logging has gone, and now so has the pulp mill, leaving tourism dollars and big box wages supporting our town. The very next year after the closure of Woodfibre, with the loss of the 1 million in tax dollars annually, Squamish council increased our taxes after promising that this would not happen. Many families moved out of town, some businesses closed down (my mother's included) and the face of Squamish changed forever. This is not a problem that affects tourists in your town - I visit frequently for recreation and visiting friends; I've never been bothered by the smell in your town and I have not heard of any person complain about this either. Please support this industry as much as possible, help them to grow, change and prosper for the sake of all British Columbians.

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