Gravel pit faces opposition

Neighbours fear gravel pit proposed near Markerville could impact aquifers

Image from

Neighbours of a proposed gravel pit are frustrated that they must renew the fight to stop it.

Howell’s Excavating Ltd. wants to mine about 2.1 million tonnes of gravel in phases over 20 years on about 122 acres, six km south of Markerville in Red Deer County.

County council approved first reading of a bylaw amendment to include the proposed pit in a gravel overlay district on Tuesday. A public hearing has been set for April 25.

Adele and John McKechnie live next to the proposed gravel pit and are concerned gravel excavation will endanger an aquifer important to local water supplies and increase flooding risk in the area.

The gravel operation, which is located in the Medicine River Environmentally Significant Area, will also create noise and dust problems and is incompatible with neighbouring properties.

Howell’s Excavating proposed a gravel pit on the same land in 2013 but was turned down by the county’s municipal planning commission. Howell’s appealed but lost.

The McKechnies are upset that once again they must fight the same battle over again. A gravel operation by another company was approved in the 1990s to mine gravel nearby but did not go ahead because of a requirement that the company only mine gravel above the water table, they say.

Residents are also concerned that under a gravel pit approval process adopted by the county a year ago does not allow for appeals once council has agreed to allow a gravel pit to be included in a gravel overlay district.

John McKechnie said the gravel pit approval process is not protecting landowners.

“As far as we’re concerned, it’s made it worse.”

Lawyer Gayle Langford is representing Howell’s Excavating and said the company has hired a former Alberta Environment expert to ensure the site is suitable and water supplies are not affected.

The expert will ensure Howell’s Excavating’s application goes “over and beyond what would be required,” said Langford.

More observation wells will be drilled to ensure water supplies for residents are not affected. Water on the site flows away from neighbouring properties, she said.

“So there’s absolutely no impact on their water supply.”

Berms and additional trees have also been proposed to act as noise and dust buffers.

Just Posted

Women’s marches underway in Canadian cities, a year after Trump inauguration

Women are gathering in dozens of communities across the country today to… Continue reading

Red Deer councillor balks at city getting stuck with more funding responsibilities

Volunteer Central seeks municipal funding after being cut off by government

Olds chicken barn burns to the ground, no livestock harmed

More than 100,000 chickens were saved as fire crews prevent the blaze from spreading

Bear video meant to promote conservation: zoo owner

Discovery Wildlife Park says it will look at other ways to promote its conservation message

WATCH: Setters Place grand opening in Red Deer

Red Deer’s Setters Place officially opened to the public Saturday afternoon.… Continue reading

In photos: Get ready for Western Canadian Championships

Haywood NorAm Western Canadian Championships and Peavey Mart Alberta Cup 5/6 start… Continue reading

WATCH: Red Deer city council debates cost-savings versus quality of life

Majority of councillors decide certain services are worth preserving

Got milk? Highway reopened near Millet

A southbound truck hauling milk and cartons collided with a bridge

Stettler’s newest residents overcame fear, bloodshed to come here

Daniel Kwizera, Diane Mukasine and kids now permanent residents

Giddy up: Red Deer to host Canadian Finals Rodeo in 2018

The CFR is expected to bring $20-30 million annually to Red Deer and region

Ice dancers Virtue and Moir to carry flag at Pyeongchang Olympics

Not since Kurt Browning at the 1994 Lillehammer Games has a figure… Continue reading

Beer Canada calls on feds to axe increasing beer tax as consumption trends down

OTTAWA — A trade association for Canada’s beer industry wants the federal… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month