Despite public backlash, a local contractor got a license from the province to investigate a potential new gravel site.
Jake-Jay Construction has been granted a temporary license to occupy and investigate the site on Westside Rd., near the Jordan River. The licence does not allow them to log or extract gravel from the area.
Layco, president of Jake-Jay applied last spring to the Ministry of Forests Lands Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development to use the Crown Land.
One of the requirements of the temporary license, granted Dec. 6, 2019, was that Jake-Jay consult with the community.
At a public meeting on Tuesday, Grusky Layco, faced a room of around 50 people seemingly all hoping to stop the gravel pit from moving forward.
Layco’s application was for two sites, one further up a logging road, in the Kirkup and the other within city limits on Westside Rd, in a spot that is currently home to a poplar walking trail.
|More than 50 people attended the community meeting hosted by Grusky Layco of Jake-Jay Construction and voiced their concerns about the proposed gravel pit near the Jordan River. (Jocelyn Doll/Revelstoke Review)|
When asked who in the room has walked the Jordan River trail, everyone raised their hands.
One mom spoke for her kids, age 1, 11 and 13.
“We have left them at home tonight to come here,” she said. “They all wanted to be here. We didn’t bring the 1.5 year old to toddle around. But they have all walked those grounds and those trails and they don’t want to see it go.”
Others acknowledged the need for gravel, citing upcoming highway improvement projects as well as local construction, but requested that Layco find another location.
“I go there every week and if a tree comes down, it is neatly cut to the side by the next week,” said Virginia Thompson, Revelstoke resident, at the meeting. “There is never any garbage there. It is loved.”
When asked why he was proposing the Westside Rd. location for a gravel pit, Layco said it was for convenience.
“The further we go out of town, the more fuel we will burn and we will be passing this on to the public,” he said.
The community brought forward concerns about riparian habitat and claimed there is old growth forest in the area that should be protected.
Others were concerned about dust and noise that a gravel pit would produce.
“And there is silica dust and that is not good for the flora or fauna, human or otherwise,” said Sarah Newton, Revelstoke resident.
The Jordan River is popular with kayakers and Katrina Van Wijk, another Revelstoke resident said the best place to put in the river is right next to the proposed Kirkup site, further into the mountains. She asked whether kayakers would still be allowed access.
Layco said that the Ministry of Mines does not allow public to access sites such as gravel pits.
|The orange is the land granted to Jake-Jay Construction in a temporary licence to occupy by the Ministry of Forests Lands Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. The shaded sections surrounding the orange is the area that the company applied to use. (Submitted)|
The forestry ministry requires that Layco submit the minutes from the public meeting. He will also have to conduct a biological and ecological assessment of the area, as well as complete several other requirements:
- estimation of the scarcity of gravel in the Revelstoke area
- estimate the potential demand for gravel
- estimate the existing demand by other operators
- estimate the amount of money that will be spent for site investigation and development for each site
- secure development permits from the City of Revelstoke
- secure permit approvals from the Ministry of Transportation and the Selkirk Forest District
- engage with the Little Shuswap Indian Band and the Splatsin First Nation
- adopt a dust control plan
- conduct and invasive plant measure
|A view of the Jordan River from the trail in the area, during the summer. (Jocelyn Doll/Revelstoke Review)|
At the moment, the property is zoned Rural Residential. In Revelstoke’s Zoning Bylaw it’s described to “provide for the retention of forest and wild land as non-urban, for the conservation of agricultural land by the holding of land in large parcels, for the prevention of intensive use in areas subject to periodic flooding, and for the accommodation of forestry, mining, transportation, recreation and water uses and activities.”
Permitted uses include the extraction of raw materials from the land, such as gravel.
However, in Revelstoke’s Official Community Plan, which city staff are currently in the process of updating, the area is identified as a T1-Natural Ecosystem. This land use applies to areas that the city is committed to preserving.
“The land use should not permit development of any kind,” the plan reads.
In July, the city submitted a letter saying they did not support the application for a gravel pit.
At the end of the meeting Angela Black, a member of the audience, asked if the feedback presented at the meeting changed anything.
“I have to take what everyone is saying into consideration,” Layco concluded.