Rocky View County is looking to make Div. 9 the placement area for future gravel pits coming online.
County council voted 8-1 in favour of the Master Site Development Plans (MSDPs) for three additional gravel pits along Big Hill Springs Road, with only Springbank Coun. Jerry Arshinoff voting against.
While many are outraged at what they feel is a slight to the safety and health of residents with the creation of “gravel alley,” Div. 9 Coun. Bruce Kendall said he spent four years trying to get an aggregate resources policy (ARP) drafted and this was the best he could do at this time.
“It’s critical for us (the county) to keep control … and then there’s the wild card of the Growth Management Board,” said Kendall, who is concerned the province will do what they have done in other areas – come in and take the reins on gravel extraction.
Kendall sees the outcome as an overall win. After four years of working to achieve resolution, he said he has managed to get “most of my proposed amendments incorporated” – amendments that relate to health, safety, ground and surface water protection, noise and dust mitigation.
He is confident that the amendments will help “set the highest standards ever in Rocky View County for an aggregate operation.”
Coun. Jerry Arshinoff is furious over the decision and the future impacts on residents. His calculations indicate the traffic pressures from all the gravel trucks will add tremendous pressures on already burdened roads in Div. 9.
He also takes issue with the Community Aggregate Payment Levy that is at 25 cents/ton and could reach 40 cents/ton – what he declares as “such an insignificant amount.
“The decision doesn’t surprise me … the county has more or less decided it’s open season on residents,” said Keith Koebisch, a longtime Div. 9 resident whose property is north of Big Hill Springs Road.
Koebisch, along with other members of Rocky View Gravel Watch county residents, has launched an appeal of all three pit applications.
He said at this point he can only hope for considerable change in the next council and that their day before a judge will put the ball back in the court of the residents.
Div. 1 resident Janet Ballantyne said she can only hope for change in the upcoming election and cannot think of a more clear example of poor resident consultation. Kendall said the highways are a provincial matter and he will continue to advocate for a controlled intersection at Lochend Road and Highway 1A and additional road improvements, as included in the amendments.
The three pit applicants are the Hughes pit (Lafarge Canada), the BRADI pit (McNair Sand & Gravel) and the Summit Gravel Pit (Mountain Ash Limited).
Hillstone Aggregates is the operator of the current operational pit.