Residents near a proposed gravel pit along Westsyde Road hope to have the Agricultural Land Commission review its decision to allow the non-farm land use.
Bruce Bried, a Vancouver mining engineer, wants to develop a gravel-pit operation on his 28-hectare property at 7461 Westsyde Rd., near the mouth of Jamieson Creek.
He wants to extract 600,000 cubic metres of sand and gravel from a seven-hectare area to a depth of 25 metres over a five-year period.
The proposal worries neighbouring residents, who fear increased dust, noise and heavy-truck traffic along Westsyde Road.
Most of the land lies within the agricultural land reserve. In March, the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) approved Bried’s application for non-farm use.
Bob McLellan, whose family has a small horse ranch next door to the Bried property, feels that decision was not well-founded.
“I’ve written the Agricultural Land Commission and asked them to reconsider having an alternative use other than agriculture on that property,” he said.
Bried’s application to the ALC stated that the land is too rocky to plow and will be more arable after sand and gravel are removed. Even post-extraction, there may be irrigation and drainage limitations, he noted.
“I’ve got eight inches of soil on my side of the fence,” McLellan said. “That doesn’t change on his side of the fence.”
He has a productive well as his irrigation source, so there’s no issue with irrigation. As for drainage, Bried’s gravel deposit should provide plenty, he added.
McLellan believes the review is assured, but Liz Sutton, a land-use planner with the ALC, said that’s not necessarily the case.
“The ALC has not decided what type of action we’re going to take,” Sutton said. “We have to go through the information we’ve received and determine what the process will be.”
Bried said he’s waiting for word from the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Resources before scheduling a public meeting on the proposal. He expects the meeting will take place within the next two to three weeks.
Bried said he was aware of residents’ concerns, but pointed out that there are several existing gravel operations along Westsyde Road.
“A lot of gravel trucks have been there forever,” said Bried, who grew up in Kamloops.
Neighbours wonder why there is a need for another gravel operation, since there are three in the immediate area. They can only see a major impact on quality of life.
“As soon as that gravel pit opens beside me, I’m done,” McLellan said.