Revelstoke council is being asked to considered a potentially contentious proposal to remove gravel extraction from many large rural-residential zones in the city.
Dean Strachan, the development services manager for the City of Revelstoke, is asking council to consider a plan that would remove gravel extraction as a permitted use in areas zoned RR60. To compensate, a new zone would be created that would allow for gravel pits on land designated for gravel extraction in the Official Community Plan.
“There’s big ramifications,” said Strachan. “We’re talking about seeing the Trans-Canada Highway twinned from Alberta to Vancouver. The construction industry in town is getting busier. What is that necessity, what is the need and does the OCP designation adequately allocate land for that need for at least the next five years?”
At issue is the fact that the zoning bylaw permits gravel extraction in all areas zoned RR60, which includes all of Westside Road, land north of the Trans-Canada Highway, and parts of the Big Eddy, Arrow Heights, and Johnson Heights. However, the Official Community Plan only designates certain areas north of Columbia Park, the north end of Westside Road, and a small part of the Big Eddy as appropriate for gravel pits.
The proposal, if adopted, would mean much less land is available for gravel extraction within city limits. Existing pits would be legally non-conforming, but expansion of existing pits wouldn’t be allowed.
Strachan said the city would consult with the provincial government, local gravel pit operators and contractors before moving forward with the zoning changes.
Local government’s are limited in their ability to stop gravel extraction. Any zoning changes that limit gravel pits must be approved by the Ministry of Mines.
Council is also being asked to request further restrictions on a proposed gravel pit by Revelstoke Sand & Gravel that would be located off Westside Road, across the river from the Revelstoke Golf Club.
In September, council asked the province to place several conditions on the proposed pit, including putting dust, noise and remediation plans in place, limiting the operating hours from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., limiting the size of the pit to two hectares at a time, and requiring a study to determine the level of crystalline silica in the quarry.
The province has submitted its proposed permit to the city for final review. It accepted the conditions on dust, remediation and pit size, but not on noise or operating hours.
Now council is being asked to recommend both its original conditions and two that came from the city’s environmental advisory committee: a noxious weed control plan and a contribution to place an air quality monitoring station on Columbia Park Elementary.
“When this came through (council) was pretty clear they wanted staff to monitor this issue,” said Strachan. “Now it’s come through for final approval and there’s murmurs for other pits and it’s time to look at getting a handle on this.”
Discussion is set for the Tuesday, Apr. 12, meeting of council.