County to revise proposal for controversial gravel pit

Red Deer County officials faced with a groundswell of opposition will go back to the drawing board before moving forward with a gravel pit proposal in the Shady Nook area, directly across the river from the Red Deer Airport.

Red Deer County officials faced with a groundswell of opposition will go back to the drawing board before moving forward with a gravel pit proposal in the Shady Nook area, directly across the river from the Red Deer Airport.

Between 80 and 100 people — mainly residents of the area — crammed into council chambers on Tuesday to address a public hearing for an amendment to bylaw amendment that would allow gravel mining on two quarter sections of farmland at Range Road 284 and Township Road 374. The land belongs to the Pine Hill Hutterite Colony located west of Penhold on Hwy 592, about 20 km from the site.

Of the 30 people who rose to address council during the hearing, the majority expressed their fears about the plan, including safety and health concerns relating to truck traffic on Range Road 284. Utterances of “shame on you” and stronger words could be heard from the crowd as council gave second reading to the bylaw.

Mayor Jim Wood did not ask for a third and final reading, stating that more work needs to be done to ensure that residents’ concerns can be put to rest.

People from outside the Shady Nook district expressed support for the plan, talking about the economic benefits of having a gravel pit closer to the city and stating that they had learned to live with gravel pits next to their homes and farms.

Teenager Parker Depalme, whose family lives directly across the road from the site, begged council to turn down the proposal. Depalme said he would no longer feel safe riding his bike or his horse on the road.

“Would you like a gravel pit less than 800 metres from your house?” he asked.

A young mother who lives alongside the proposed haul route broke down as she laid out her fears.

Jennifer Creasey said she saw the damage after a rock came off the top of a gravel truck and took out a neighbour’s windshield.

“I am terrified for my son standing there and waiting for the bus in the morning.”

Creasey said she wasn’t worried about a few extra dollars added to her tax bill to pay for gravel from further away, if that was the issue.

“You can’t replace my son for any amount of money,” she said.

Parker Depalme’s grandfather, Ray Depalme, said his grandfather had farmed in the area and a fourth generation of his family is now living there.

The haul road runs through the centre of a registered environmentally sensitive area ecompassing the Depalme family farm, which lies on both sides of the haul road. He raised concerns about their cattle choking on dust and safety issues on the steep-sided and narrow road.

“It hasn’t been proven to me that there’s a desperate need for gravel,” he said.

Gravel operator Danny Scott, a resident of Sylvan Lake, attempted to allay residents’ fears, stating that dust control could be run the entire length of the haul route and that the road could be widened and upgraded at the gravel pit’s expense to resolve safety issues.

Wood handed the proposal back to county staff, asking that they look into a variety of details before bringing the bylaw amendment back for third reading. That includes finding ways to make the road safer for the school buses, such as keeping the trucks off the road when they are running and building places for them to pull off the road while picking up and dropping off passengers. The gravel operator should be held to its offer to provide dust control whenever needed along the full length of the haul route, said Wood.

County manager Curtis Herzberg said 30 to 60 days would be ample time to complete the review as requested.

A date for third reading was not announced.

bkossowan@bprda.wpengine.com

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

Just Posted

Alberta has 1,910 active cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday. Red Deer is reporting five active cases, with 108 recovered. (File photo)
Red Deer reports 25th COVID-19 death

415 new cases identified provincially Saturday

Erika Fetterly, owner of EFP Studios, recently launched the Let Them Have A Voice campaign. (Contributed photo)
Central Alberta photographer’s campaign aims to give youths a voice

An Innisfail photographer is giving a platform to young central Albertans so… Continue reading

More than 120,000 Albertans have signed up to get the COVID-19 vaccine in the first two days of appointment bookings. (Photo courtesy Alberta Health Services Twitter)
Alberta Health Services apologizes after seniors struggle to book vaccine appointments

The CEO and president of Alberta Health Services is apologizing after seniors… Continue reading

Red Deer’s Kyle Moore, 26, will be a houseguest on Season 9 of Big Brother Canada. (Photo courtesy Big Brother Canada)
Red Deer man will be a houseguest on Big Brother Canada

A Red Deer man will be a houseguest on the upcoming season… Continue reading

Red Deer Public Schools says that in the absence of additional funds from the provincial government, there was no consideration of using alternate classroom sites in the district. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Red Deer Public Schools launches online engagement process

Red Deer Public schools is seeking community input to help ensure a… Continue reading

An arrest by Red Deer RCMP is facing online scrutiny. No charges have been laid and the incident is still under investigation. (Screenshot of YouTube video)
Red Deer RCMP investigating violent arrest caught on video

Police say officer ‘acted within the scope of his duties’

Ottawa Senators goaltender Matt Murray (30) stands in his crease as Calgary Flames left wing Andrew Mangiapane (88), left to right, defenceman Rasmus Andersson (4), Matthew Tkachuk (19), Mikael Backlund (11) and Mark Giordano (5) celebrate a goal during second period NHL action in Ottawa on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Calgary Flames beat Ottawa 6-3 to end Senators’ three-game win streak

Flames 6 Senators 3 OTTAWA — The Calgary Flames used a balanced… Continue reading

Toronto Maple Leafs centre Auston Matthews (34) falls on his knees as he skates around Ottawa Senators defenceman Artem Zub (2) during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Thursday, February 18, 2021. The Maple Leafs will be without star centre Auston Matthews when they take on the Edmonton Oilers Saturday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Toronto star Auston Matthews won’t play as Leafs face Oilers

EDMONTON — The Maple Leafs will be without star centre Auston Matthews… Continue reading

Crosses are displayed in memory of the elderly who died from COVID-19 at the Camilla Care Community facility during the COVID-19 pandemic in Mississauga, Ont., on November 19, 2020. The number of people who would have died from a COVID-19 infection is likely to be much higher than recorded because of death certificates don't always list the virus as the cause of a fatality, experts say. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Death certificates don’t accurately reflect the toll of the pandemic, experts say

The number of people who would have died from a COVID-19 infection… Continue reading

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto, Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021. A single dose of Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine is barely enough to cover the average pinky nail but is made up of more than 280 components and requires at least three manufacturing plants to produce. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
From science to syringe: COVID-19 vaccines are miracles of science and supply chains

OTTAWA — A single dose of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine is barely enough… Continue reading

Wetaskiwin RCMP say a Maskwacis man died after he was struck by a vehicle. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Clare’s Law in Saskatchewan used handful of times; Mounties review their role

REGINA — A first-of-its-kind law in Canada meant to warn those at… Continue reading

The Magpie river in Quebec is shown in a handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Boreal River MANDATORY CREDIT
Quebec river granted legal rights as part of global ‘personhood’ movement

MONTREAL — With its kilometres of rapids and deep blue waters winding… Continue reading

Thorough sanding of a table top is usually the first step to renewing a finish. Wax contaminants can sometimes still remain on a surface like this after sanding. Cleaning with rubbing alcohol and a rag gets rid of these contaminants without leaving a residue behind. (Photo by Steve Maxwell)
Houseworks: Fixing wood finishes

Q: How can I stop polyurethane from beading up on a mahogany… Continue reading

Most Read