Update: Gravel quarry expansion in Pitt Meadows cancelled

Update: Gravel quarry expansion in Pitt Meadows cancelled

Katzie First Nation celebrating the decision

  • Sep. 8, 2017 8:00 a.m.

Pitt Meadows residents are celebrating a decision by the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources to cancel the application for a gravel quarry on Sheridan Hill in Pitt Meadows.

“This is a win for both Pitt Meadows and the Katzie First Nation,” said Mayor John Becker. “Because we have built a good working relationship with one another, we were able to work together to oppose this application and produced tangible results.”

“The mine was not good for Pitt Meadows and it did not respect the sacred history of the Katzie First Nation. We look forward to working together on more long-term solutions to shared interests.”

The Katzie had worked against the proposal by Meadows Quarry, garnering support from other bands around the province.

“As a nation, we were not willing to let our rights be further extinguished and we will continue to assert these rights,” said Katzie Chief Susan Miller.

“We must ensure that our traditional territory’s cultural and ecological sites are protected for future generations of the Katzie people, as well as for our friends and neighbors who reside here.”

The quarry application was the subject of a community rally in March of 2015, as many in the community opposed Meadows Quarry’s proposal to remove 240,000 tonnes of rock each year for five years, reducing the elevation of the hill by 30 metres.

Becker once quipped that it would have been reduced to “Sheridan Hole.”

The quarry would have been on the south side of Sheridan Hill, and there would have been blasting and truck traffic six days a week. Lafarge already operates a quarry on the north face.

In April of 2015 opponents demonstrated on the steps of the provincial legislature, and they presented government with a petition with 3,123 names of people against the quarry.

The project was cancelled because the applicants failed to complete an archeological survey, which was to be done at the company’s own expense.

The Katzie were leaders in the campaign against the quarry, and among the first to react to its cancellation.

For over 12,000 years, Miller said, the Katzie people have lived in the area surrounding Pitt Meadows, including Sheridan Hill.

“Our territory includes the land from the Pitt and Alouette watersheds down to the land on both sides of the Fraser River in Pitt Meadows, Langley and Barnston Island (Surrey). Our rights, in agreement with neighboring First Nations, include all the natural resources on the land and water in our territory,” she added.

“Sheridan Hill, or semʔent in our language, is our sacred genesis site. Swaneset and his people from whom the Katzie descend, were created at Sheridan Hill; they were the original and only human inhabitants of the land.”