Proposed gravel pit concerns need to be addressed

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As adjacent landowners, we strongly object to the proposed development of NE & SE 29-32-5-5 and SE 32-32-5-5 as an aggregate extraction facility and oppose the redesignation. Further, we have reviewed the application documents and found them incomplete. Although we disagree with the development, our expectation is that Mountain View County will approve and proceed with development on its lands regardless of our objections and therefore we have provided the following comments:

The county needs to provide a hydrogeotechnical/geotechnical report that identifies the following: depth to groundwater including seasonal variation; cover requirement from base of excavation to top of aquifer/highest groundwater level; depth of mineable gravel given groundwater depths and cover requirements as well as comparison to initial estimates of gravel yield to determine whether development still makes sense; the potential risk of groundwater contamination; direction of groundwater flow; risk assessment to the Town of Sundre water supply and other well water users; and specific recommendations for mitigating groundwater contamination risks such as fuelling of equipment outside of the pit.

The county needs to provide specific details of noise and dust mitigation practices to be employed, rather than referring to the Code of Practice. For example, will gravel be crushed in the pit, rather than the surface, to reduce noise? Better yet, will crushing be undertaken in a shed? Will a berm be constructed around the pit to reduce noise? How exactly will dust be reduced, such as frequency of sprinkler operations?

How will the regional park development and future park maintenance be funded? The size of the park constitutes a significant undertaking. What assurances are there that the park will be developed to a suitable degree to compensate residents for the inconvenience that will arise from the aggregate extraction activity, including dust, noise and increased heavy truck traffic?

Regarding the redesignation and subdivision application form, we contest the description of the land as having no river, stream, lake or other body of water, or drainage ditch or canal, or coulee or ravine. There are several natural drainage courses (possibly ephemeral) visible in aerial photographs. What mitigation or accommodation for offsite and onsite drainage will be made? For example, how will the natural drainage to the Red Deer River that passes though the study area be maintained during site activity? How will onsite stormwater be managed to prevent groundwater contamination and to prevent deleterious downstream impacts? A stormwater management plan needs to be developed.

We hope that the county will reconsider this ill-advised development.

Shortly after the application document from MVC was received, adjacent landowners received a similar application from Rolling Mix Concrete for a gravel pit operation as well. This project is on the southwest edge of the Town of Sundre, just east of the proposed MVC application. Rolling Mix would operate 12 hours a day, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., 12 months of the year. Most of the above comments directed to the county also need to be addressed by Rolling Mix Concrete.

Do the seniors who have recently taken up residence in the beautiful new Sundre Seniors’ Supportive Living centre really want to spend the last years of their lives smelling, hearing and viewing two gravel pit operations? We don’t think so.

Do these gravel pit operations do anything to enhance the Town of Sundre’s efforts to boost tourism? We don’t think so. Do these gravel pit operations encourage new residents to take up residency in our otherwise beautiful town? We don’t think so.

Elmer and Illona Steward

Sundre-area residents

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