The time for feedback is over – for awhile – and it’s time to reflect on what could happen at the north end of 256th Street, where Canadian Aggregates and Katzie First Nation want to dig a 79-acre gravel pit that could last a century.
The end of January was the deadline for submissions from residents and interest groups about the plans.
Now, Garnet Mierau, with Canadian Aggregates, is poring over those comments and contacting those who voiced their opinions. A meeting is planned next week with the Webster’s Corners Community Association, though a date has yet to be set for a general open house on the proposal.
“The ball’s in our court right now. We’ve received comment and feedback and it’s time to respond to that and that’s what we’re doing right now,” Mierau said Wednesday.
Blue Mountain Quarry would process up to 225,000 cubic metres of sand and gravel a year. Depending on when supply contracts are being issued, that could mean dozens of truck daily rumbling along local roads in a concentrated period of time.
One of the more controversial parts of the project is the proposal to build a road through the Blue Mountain forest from north 256th Street, running southeast to Dewdney Trunk Road near 272nd Street. That would allow heavy gravel trucks to avoid using the intersection at 256th Street and Dewdney Trunk Road.
Webster’s Corners Community Association is concerned about traffic that will result on the roads.
Maple Ridge has also contacted the provincial government to clarify whether its bylaws and gravel royalties would apply to the operation.
But so far, Mayor Ernie Daykin’s heard no response from the senior government. The operation is on provincial land, outside the boundaries of the District of Maple Ridge.
However, Maple Ridge can enforce its zoning bylaws, its stream protection rules, its bylaws that control erosion and sediment in streams, and require the applicant to do a traffic impact report, the ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations said previously.
Under the Land Act, “The applicant must meet the requirements established by local governments through their bylaws and the province has no ability to override or provide an exemption to them,” says the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.
However Maple Ridge staff say that on previous developments that took place on Crown land, provincial law overrode municipal law.
Daykin also discussed the operation with Katzie First Nation chief Jay Bailey. “They’re looking at it is part of their economic strategy.”
Canadian Aggregates and Katzie First Nation have applied for a lease so they can build the gravel operation which would last for more than a century, and produce 225,000 tonnes yearly, below the threshold required for an environmental impact assessment.
The Chilliwack forest district, part of the natural resources ministry, opposes the application because of the impact on existing woodlots, small, sustainable logging operations, on Blue Mountain.