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January 17, 2023

Alberta Rocks gravel pit rezoning approved

Laurie Tritschler
Shootin’ the Breeze Local Journalism Reporter
Gravel pit expansion passes first hurdle in regulatory process

MD of Pincher Creek council last month approved a rezoning application to expand a gravel pit in Villa Vega, a subdivision in the southwest corner of Division 5, near the intersection of Highway 3 and Highway 507.

The rezoning changes the lot’s land use designation from agriculture to direct control by council through an amendment to the MD’s land use bylaw, advancing the proposed expansion to the development permitting phase.

Craig Anderson filed the application in August on behalf of Alberta Rocks Ltd. Council unanimously rejected a similar application by the company roughly two years ago, according to Reeve Rick Lemire. 

Lemire reminded council that the MD hadn’t approved the original gravel pit when it was sunk into the ground about 15 years ago. The lot owner shut the pit down after a sternly worded letter from the MD, but Lemire says the land was never reclaimed.

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Alberta Rocks hopes to dig a new pit on the site to extend roughly five hectares. Anderson’s application promises to fill in the pit after it’s retired and then establish suitable ground cover to prevent erosion. 

The application says operations would run from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. throughout the week, with no operations on weekends or statutory holidays. There will be no gravel crushing on-site. The application details a September 2019 sound test that showed “low sound levels” during pit operations. 

The application says the pit is “downwind” from most Villa Vega homes, but doesn’t include specific plans for dust mitigation. 

The application triggered a public hearing in October, minutes of which show Anderson suggesting he’d use dust-control products. 

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Five of Anderson’s neighbours spoke against the rezoning, raising concerns about noise, dust and unwelcome neighbourhood disruptions.

When council took up Anderson’s application on Dec. 13, Lemire said he couldn’t support the rezoning. 

“This project was denied two years ago,” he said. “As far as I’m concerned, the same conditions are still there.” 

Lemire acknowledged that redesignating the lot under direct control gives council broad authority to impose strict conditions, but said the MD doesn’t have the resources to enforce compliance. 

“I just don’t think we have the manpower to do all that at this time,” he explained. 

Deputy reeve Tony Bruder also voted against the application, with Couns. David Cox, Harold Hollingshead and John MacGarva voting in favour.

 

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  Breeze news shown on newspaper, cell phone, computer screen and tablet

Breeze stories highlight the people, events, businesses, organizations and news in Pincher Creek, Crowsnest Pass and surrounding area.

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  Breeze news shown on newspaper, cell phone, computer screen and tablet

Breeze stories highlight the people, events, businesses, organizations and news in Pincher Creek, Crowsnest Pass and surrounding area.

  Tell us about it today button to share stories, photos and ideas We encourage our readers to share ideas for Breeze stories relevant to Pincher Creek, Crowsnest Pass and area, and welcome submissions too!
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  Word logo for Alberta Weekly Newspapers Association  Word Logo for News Media Canada   Government of Canada wordmark
Shootin’ the Breeze is a member in good standing of the Alberta Weekly Newspapers Association and News Media Canada. The Breeze receives funding through the Government of Canada’s Local Journalism Initiative and the Aid to Publishers program.
 

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