A rowdy crowd of nearly 60 people gathered at The Dunes in Westsyde Wednesday night to voice unanimous opposition to a proposed gravel pit operation in their neighbourhood.
Vancouver mining engineer Bruce Bried, joined by his business partners and brothers Jerry and Gene, attempted to present a Powerpoint presentation of the proposed project.
They want 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 on his 28-hectare property near the mouth of Jamieson Creek.
But Bried was only a few minutes into his talk when he was interrupted with a barrage of questions and concerns over the plan.
“It’s a huge negative for everybody,” said one resident. “The only positive is for you and your company. What we get is just crap. And I just hear suck it up.”
Gravel trucks from three other nearby operations speed and cut corners along Westsyde Raod, much of which has no shoulders or sidewalks, say residents.
“I have three kids — two go to school on the bus every day and gravel trucks come by constantly driving too fast,” said resident Linda Barringer. “How are we supposed to feel about that?”
Bried presented no solution, saying they’d have to rely on self-policing and community policing to control the contracted out truck drivers.
“When I was a kid here in Westsyde, as soon as I learned to ride a bike, my parents said ‘Watch those damn logging trucks,’” said Bried.
Resident Sheila MacKenzie, who jumped in to moderate questions when the meeting became unruly, drew applause when she said the neighbours want to hear that the Brieds will look into ways to “make sure your community is not at risk.”
Also worrying for those living 100 metres away from the proposed pit was the adverse effect on quality of life.
One neighbour said the project’s 25-metre high berm would not protect him from the noise of a crusher and the dust kicked up by the operation.
“Your profit is going to devastate life on my property,” he said.
Bried said the project would benefit Kamloops since the loads would remain in town for local projects.
Refusing gravel extraction would only lead to higher construction costs, which would make today’s children unable to buy homes when they grow up, he said.
Asked why he’s going ahead with the application in the face of such opposition, Bried said he wants to continue the legacy left by his late father, from whom he inherited the property.
Two Ministry of Energy, Mines and Resources representatives told the crowd that their concerns would be taken into account. They asked that attendees make their feelings known by filling out a survey that had been left on the tables.