Province rejects Ajax mine

The B.C. government has rejected the deeply controversial KGHM Ajax mine in Kamloops.

The company proposed to build a 1,700-hectare open-pit copper and gold mine about 10 kilometres southwest of the city on the traditional territories of area First Nations.

The environmental assessment office found that “taken as a whole, the potential, and in many cases significant, adverse effects of the Ajax project outweighed the potential benefits.”

A government news release cites 53 residual and cumulative adverse effects to environmental, economic, social, heritage and health values in the area. Additionally, “significant adverse effects” to indigenous land usage was noted.

“Given these conclusions and the close proximity of Ajax to the City of Kamloops, particularly the neighbourhood of Aberdeen, including an elementary school, the ministers concluded the adverse effects would not likely be mitigated to an acceptable level and would therefore present an unacceptable risk,” the news release continues.

The mine was met with fierce opposition from many local residents, including formally by the municipality itself.


Who set this thing off?

Kamloops RCMP want to know who was responsible for an improvised explosive device that was detonated in a rural area east of the city Wednesday morning.

The explosion and small fire, on the shoulder of Dallas Drive between Hood Road and Sonora Road, near Monte Creek, was heard and seen by a nearby resident who called the police. 

"There is evidence of a vehicle being in the area at the time of the explosion," said Cpl. Jodie Shelkie, RCMP spokesperson. " The police are interested in determining who was involved in this dangerous act.  At this time, it does not appear that anyone was injured."

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact Kamloops Rural RCMP at 250-314-1800 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

High Five for food drive

Since 1999, Sun Peaks Resort and its guests have supported the Kamloops Food Bank through donation drives.

The largest and most successful is the annual High Five Day, held at the beginning of the winter ski season.

On Dec. 4, thousands of skier and riders hit the slopes on High Five Day, contributing $10,240 in cash donations and more than 3,000 pounds of food.

With the Kamloops Food Bank donation truck on-site in front of Guest Services, guests were able to watch the food donations pile up during the day.  


Man wanted for sex assault

The Kamloops RCMP is asking for the public’s help in tracking down a man wanted for a 2015 sexual assault.

Dolape Ibukun Babatunde is described as African, 5’7”,150 pounds with dark hair and eyes.

Anyone with information on Babatunde’s whereabouts is asked to contact  Kamloops RCMP at 250-828-3000.

Police did not release any further information about the crime.

Police bust Red Scorpions

The Kamloops RCMP is announcing charges in connection to a drug trafficking investigation targeting the Red Scorpions gang.

Police say the charges are a result of multiple operations undertaken by RCMP between October 2016 and March 2017.

On Dec. 1, 2016 a vehicle stopped in Merritt was found to contain a substantial amount of cash. Gregory Wilson and Brandon Chappell, both of Kamloops were charged with possession of property obtained by crime over $5000.

Then in Jan. 2017, police raided the Heavy Metal Gym and home of Chappell. At the home, officers found another substantial quantity of currency, drugs and a firearm. More charges were sworn against Chappell.

On March 30, 2017, Kamloops RCMP executed a search warrant at the home of Chappell and Erwin Dagle of Kamloops.

In Chappell’s home, police found more cash. At Dagle’s home, police seized cash, bulk supplies of cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, fentanyl and carfentanil.

During the course of the investigation, Kamloops RCMP seized $191,445.00 in cash, 1.3 kg of cocaine, 56 grams of heroin, 448 grams of fentanyl, 717 grams of methamphetamine, 231 grams of MDMA and 1 firearm.

Driver flees without gun

RCMP officers in Kamloops were out looking for impaired drivers Saturday night but ended up arresting a man who fled and finding a loaded handgun.

At approximately 8:32 p.m., members of Kamloops Municipal Traffic Services were conducting a Counter Attack road block on Seymour St. West when they noticed a vehicle turn around rather than go past them.

“The vehicle fled at a high rate of speed going the wrong way on the one way street and eventually coming to a dead end,” said Const. Mike Scherpenisse, RCMP spokesperson. “Two males then fled from the car.”

Officers set up containment in the area and, with the assistance of a passing motorist, a police dog was able to track a suspect who was taken into custody.

“The male remains in custody on an outstanding warrant for his arrest and police will be recommending several new charges related to this event,” said Scherpenisse.

Police are still searching for the second suspect who is described as wearing blue pants, a grey hoody under a black jacket, possibly wearing a black ball cap and carrying a black backpack.

Meanwhile, officers located a loaded 44 revolver handgun as well as a knife in the front of the car, said Scherpenisse.

Plea to halt parking hike

The Kamloops Central Business Improvement Association is asking city father's to postpone a planned parking fee increase.

A 25 cent per hour increase is scheduled to take affect Jan. 1. The increase was part of a bylaw put in place four years ago.

However, the association says at the time the bylaw was enacted, there were expected timelines and outcomes that have not yet been realized.

The association says with delays in meter installation, the increase should be deferred for a year.

"Considering the lack of newly created long term public parking, receiving timely and relevant information on our current downtown parking situation and the negative public perception regarding parking downtown, the KCBIA is requesting that city council defer the slated Jan.1, 2018 increase for one year, until a study has been completed, or creation of long term parking," association GM Gay Pooler said in a news release Friday.

Officer charged with assault

A Kamloops RCMP officer has been charged with assault causing bodily harm in connection with an August incident while he was on duty.

Const. Joedy Todd Henderson was charged Wednesday and is expected to first appear in court on Jan. 11, for the Aug. 25, 2017 incident.

“The charge was approved by an experienced Crown counsel who is located in a different area of the province than the officer under investigation, and who has no prior or current connection with this officer,” said Dan McLaughlin, communications with the BC Prosecution Service.

No other information about the incident that led to the charge has been released.  

Bait cars set to catch thieves

The Kamloops RCMP Crime Reduction Unit is warning car thieves to watch out.

Bait vehicles have been placed around Kamloops, including shopping malls and other busy areas to catch crooks trying to break-in. The twist this year is RCMP officers have added parcels and packages in them. 

The bait vehicles have been equipped with audio and video equipment that can be tracked and monitored by the police so anyone attempting to steal the vehicle or the items inside, will be quickly apprehended by the Crime Reduction Unit.

RCMP are reminding the public to always lock your vehicle, take all keys with you and don’t leave any valuables inside.

Teen grabbed but gets away

Kamloops RCMP are asking for the public’s help in identifying a man who grabbed a teenage girl on 9th Avenue Wednesday afternoon.

On Dec 6th at around 2:30 p.m., a 15-year-old girl had a frightening encounter as she walked northbound on 9th Avenue, between South Kamloops Secondary School and Lloyd George Elementary School, when a middle-aged man grabbed her by the arm.

Luckily, the girl was able to pull away and run down to Columbia Avenue where she was meeting her father.

Patrols were made by both the girl’s father and police officers but a suspect was not located, police said.

The man is described as Caucasian, approximately 50 years old, wearing a black toque, black hoodie and baggy brown pants.

Anyone with information about the incident or who can identify the male, is asked to contact the Kamloops RCMP at 250-828-3000.

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