A brown trout in the Raven River system north of Sundre. (Contributed photo from William Young).

Emotions run high at public meeting about a proposed gravel pit near Raven River trout stream

Conservationists fear for brown trouts’ survival

Passions ran high at a meeting between conservationists and the Red Deer company wanting to extract gravel near a Raven River trout stream.

About 140 people from across Alberta attended the gathering at the Butte Community Hall on Thursday to learn more about Border Paving plans to excavate gravel from below the water table for use in road projects.

Kevin Gardiner of the Alberta Conservation Association said many people got emotional at the thought of possible siltation and warming of a world-famous brown trout fishing stream.

Millions of dollars and volunteer hours were spent improving habitat along this waterway, and anglers fear this will be wasted if a gravel mine disturbs the flow of groundwater that flows into the spring-fed Raven River north of Sundre.

“There was a passionate cry from some people that they didn’t want the project at all,” said Gardiner.

Gravel pit proposal raises concerns

He personally felt “underwhelmed” by the research presented by geological consultants, but he admitted they couldn’t fully present their case because they had to answer a steady stream of questions from the audience.

“I would say there was very strong resistance (to the project), and both sides had dug in,” Gardiner added.

Kate Walls, a co-owner of Border Paving, agreed with this general assessment.

She said she felt “scared” by the anger and loudness of some of the opinions expressed, as well as the entrenched mindset of some opponents to the project.

“There was a lot of just arguing; somebody says ‘black’ and someone else says ‘white.’”

Walls maintains her company doesn’t want to harm the environment or wildlife and is willing to work with experts and conservationists to take mitigating measures.

The company proposes to extract gravel from two quarter sections across the road from the Raven River. Walls said Border Paving would start excavating on the side furthest from the river while monitoring water conditions.

Holding this week’s meeting was the first step in the process. The next step will be filing an application with Clearwater County, along with a report that details how the company intends to respond to public concerns.

Walls expects to take several months to make this submission.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Armed robbery suspects nabbed at Olds McDonald’s

RCMP allege three suspects tried to rob motel in Cremona at gunpoint

Calgary man, two male youths arrested after Penhold gas station thefts

Police responded to a panic alarm call on Monday

Vehicle rentals in demand during extreme cold in Red Deer

-27 C with a -44 C windchill on Saturday

Fashion Fridays: Look your best this year

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Your community calendar

Jan. 16 Red Deer Branch of the Alberta Genealogical Society monthly meeting… Continue reading

POLL: Have you had trouble starting your vehicle’s engine during this week’s cold snap?

Have you had trouble starting your vehicle’s engine during this week’s cold… Continue reading

Ontario research shows risks associated with cannabis exposure during pregnancy

Research from three Ontario universities sheds new light on the risks associated… Continue reading

Documenting Indigenous history brings ‘humility’ to filmmaker

Documentary film/interactive talk highlights relationship between Blackfoot elder, Chinese newcomer

Canada to give $25,000 to families of each Canadian who died in Iran plane crash

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also made it clear that Canada still expects Iran to compensate victims

Federal Conservative unity is being tested

John Crosbie would have no doubt enjoyed how his funeral this week… Continue reading

Drury leads host Canadian ski cross team into chilly World Cup at Nakiska

NAKISKA, Alta. — It’s too cold for penguins, but not for ski… Continue reading

Olympic rings arrive in host city on barge into Tokyo Bay

TOKYO — The Olympic rings have arrived in Tokyo. They sailed into… Continue reading

Most Read