Gravel pit open house will provide insight

An open house scheduled for this week will provide further insight to a gravel pit that will be shared by Lacombe and Clearwater Counties. Located near Range Road 86 and Township Road 380, the proposed 80-year pit is moving ahead in the approval process. Nick Pryce, WSP Group planning lead for Western Canada, said they have already gone through the environmental review process and are now heading to the permitting process from both counties.

An open house scheduled for this week will provide further insight to a gravel pit that will be shared by Lacombe and Clearwater Counties.

Located near Range Road 86 and Township Road 380, the proposed 80-year pit is moving ahead in the approval process. Nick Pryce, WSP Group planning lead for Western Canada, said they have already gone through the environmental review process and are now heading to the permitting process from both counties.

“It’s going to be well screened with a two-metre high berm and landscaping on top of it,” said Pryce. “It’s not going to be active all the time either.”

He said crushing is scheduled to occur every three years, with smaller crushing in between as needed. The gravel will then be transported to storage locations for stockpiling.

“Most crushing activities will happen in the fall and into the winter,” said Pryce.

Pryce said they had gone to neighbouring property owners to discuss concerns and there were some issues raised.

A nearby stream that has the potential to flood is one issue that was raised, but Pryce said they have obtained historic photos showing the flood patterns and demonstration the safety of the gravel pit in relation to flooding from the nearby waterway.

Another issue that was raised was the pit’s impact on local ground water.

“We go and make sure we don’t have an impact on them,” said Pryce. “There is a whole lot of analysis that has gone on about that through hydro-geological surveys.”

Extensive studies have been done on the water table, watershed and how the water flows through the area.

“If anybody’s well is affected the county would come and re-drill a new well,” said Pryce.

“There are mitigation measures in place like that.”

Traffic concerns will be addressed at the open house on Wednesday, with maps showing how they expect gravel haulers to move to and from the pit.

Because the gravel pit is a joint project for Lacombe and Clearwater Counties, the two municipalities will share the extracted material 50 per cent each.

At the end of its 80-year life cycle, the plan is for the gravel pit to be reclaimed as a wetland.

The open house is scheduled for Wednesday at Hardindell Hall, 384089 Hwy 752 in Clearwater County, from 4 to 8 p.m.

mcrawford@bprda.wpengine.com