Gravel pit foes holding public meeting

Landowners opposed to a proposed Mountain View County gravel pit are hoping to rally others to their cause. The newly formed Eagle Creek Valley Landowners’ Association is holding a public meeting on June 28 at James River Community Hall from 10 a.m. to noon to talk about Border Paving’s proposal to open a new pit about 15 km northwest of Olds.

Landowners opposed to a proposed Mountain View County gravel pit are hoping to rally others to their cause.

The newly formed Eagle Creek Valley Landowners’ Association is holding a public meeting on June 28 at James River Community Hall from 10 a.m. to noon to talk about Border Paving’s proposal to open a new pit about 15 km northwest of Olds.

Hoping there is strength in numbers, the association aims to recruit as many others to its cause as it can by explaining why the pit is such a concern, said association member Marg Funfer.

“The more members we can get to commit to it, the stronger our argument will be,” said Funfer.

A dozen people spoke at a public hearing last month on an application, which was approved by county council, to rezone the site for the 109-acre gravel pit from agricultural to an aggregate extraction/processing district.

Funfer said they have not given up despite the setback.

“Really from that public meeting we felt unheard,” she said. “It was like the decision was made at the first sentence of the hearing.”

A development permit must be approved for the gravel pit before it can go ahead and residents intend to make sure their concerns are heard.

Noise, traffic and dust have all been raised as issues by those opposed. There are also concerns that gravel extraction could raise already-shallow water tables in the Eagle Creek area and may disrupt aquifers that homeowners and farmers rely on for their water.

Funfer said the gravel pit would be the third in a small area that is within a kilometre of her home in River Valley Estates, a small rural subdivision of more than a dozen residences.

Border Paving says its application must be approved by the county and provincial regulators, who will assess environmental issues, including impact on water, before any project can proceed. The company doesn’t expect to begin the application process until this winter. The company has committed to working with area residents to address concerns.

pcowley@bprda.wpengine.com

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