Updated: Revelstoke council vote paves way for gravel pit development

Divided Revelstoke council vote to not keep reserve in place, paving way for the development of gravel pits off Westside Road

The City of Revelstoke's map reserve is outlined in red. Council voted to have a portion of it removed to facilitate a new gravel pit by Jake & Jay Construction.

A divided Revelstoke council voted to not keep a reserve in place, potentially paving the way for the development of another gravel pit off Westside Road, across the river from Columbia Park.

Mayor Mark McKee and councillors Scott Duke, Trevor English and Linda Nixon voted in favour of a staff motion to have a provincial map reserve removed from the lands that Jake & Jay Construction is seeking to turn into quarries.

The map reserve was put in place in 2008 when a developer was considering building a data centre in Revelstoke. The Crown land in question was set aside as the potential site for housing workers at the data centre.

Last Tuesday, Aug. 23, council voted to let part of it lapse, though none of the councillors that did so explained their vote.

“Staff recommends it goes forward to ensure the access to aggregate in the community as well as to recognize the applicant (Jake & Jay) has invested in the process and met all the requests made of the province and this council,” Dean Strachan, the city’s manager of development service, told council.

The vote was the latest in a lengthy and somewhat convoluted gravel pit application process that began a year ago. Last August, Jake & Jay Construction brought forward an application for a development permit to open up a new gravel pit off Westside Road. They also applied for a Crown land tenure and mining permit from the province.

In September, council voted to issue the development permit. They also asked for the province to impose dust and noise control conditions on the pit.

Then, in February, Interroute applied to expand its Westside Road gravel pit. The expansion, if approved, wouldn’t take place until 2028, but the company told the Review they were looking to secure future sources of aggregate.

In May, a twist came to the process when the province told the city that two map reserves the city had requested in 2008 were still in place. The upper reserve was by the dam, while the lower one was where the two proposed pits are located. The reserves, while not giving the city a veto over land-use, gave it a stronger say over what happened to the land. Alan Mason, the city’s director of economic development, told council that staff mistakenly thought the reserves had lapsed.

In May, council asked the province to conduct an aggregate demand study before making a decision on whether or not it would keep the lower reserve. The response from the province was they don’t conduct those kinds of studies and simply let the market dictate whether permits will be approved, said Strachan.

“If a particular applicant has identified there’s a market for this material, they apply to the province in order to get access to that material,” he said. “They have obligations to the province to use that material.”

Councillor Connie Brothers questioned Strachan’s recommendation.

“We have another gravel pit up there. Is that not good enough?” she asked. “Why do we need a second gravel pit?”

“I am really struggling with why we are doing this,” she added. “What is the need for the community? Because we haven’t even defined we have a need.”

Strachan said council could vote to keep the reserve, saying, “It would be unlikely (the province) would go against council’s recommendation. Council could make a recommendation to the ministry that the reserve remain intact.”

Despite that, council voted to abandon the portion of lower reserve that overlaps with Jake & Jay’s gravel pit application, though it did vote to keep the rest of the lower reserve and the upper reserve near the dam in place.

Part of the lower reserve is taken up by Interroute’s Westside Road gravel pit. The other portion is being targeted by Interroute for the pits future expansion, but Strachan said that is unlikely given council’s vote.

In a text message response to a voicemail left by the Review, Mayor McKee explained his vote. “As the application was already before council once before and passed, it came back only because of a technicality and I felt it would be wrong to turn it down after we had already passed it,” he wrote.

Council also passed a motion that staff work with the province and Columbia Shuswap Regional District on a regional dust control plan.

The province has yet to issue Crown land tenure for either pit.

Correction: This article has been updated to reflect the fact council voted to only exclude the portion of the lower reserve that Jake & Jay is seeking to turn into a gravel pit from the map reserve.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

John Horgan has been re-elected the MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca. (File-Black Press)
Horgan trounces challengers to be re-elected in his Vancouver Island riding

MLA has represented constituency of Langford-Juan de Fuca and its predecessors since 2005

Firefighters and RCMP are on scene at a fire on Douglas Street. (Jocelyn Doll - Revelstoke Review)
PHOTOS: Firefighters battling blaze on Douglas Street

RCMP are also on scene and blocking off access to the street

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Interior Health reports 18 COVID-19 cases, highest daily count since July

The total of COVID-19 cases in the region is now at 662

A Kelowna clinic decided to immunize their patients in a drive-thru flu clinic earlier this month. (Twila Amato - Black Press Media)
Interior Health anticipates increase in flu vaccinations this season

Some 300,000 doses of flu vaccine ready for distribution across Southern Interior

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

Voters are saying they felt safe voting in person despite the current pandemic. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
Central Okanagan voters talk about their pandemic election experience

Despite an election taking place during COVID-19, residents said they felt safe voting in person

Cole Collingwood casts his mock ballot at Vernon’s Mission Hill Elementary School ahead of the provincial election Oct. 24, 2020. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
PHOTOS: Okanagan students cast mock election ballots

At Mission Hill Elementary, the election is a chance to learn about the democratic process

Thanks to efforts by a Kelowna shelter and Elections BC, anyone who wishes to can vote in the 2020 BC Provincial Election, even if they don’t have a fixed address. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Kelowna group ensures people experiencing homelessness can vote

Shelter supervisor says voting ‘a fundamental right’ even for those without a fixed address

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

(Big White Ski Resort photo)
Big White receives 21 cm of snow in 24 hours

Resort’s snow base 41 cm deep, one month until opening day

The deer were allegedly shot within Princeton town limits, late at night. Black Press File Photo.
Armed man, in full camouflage, allegedly shoots deer in downtown Princeton

‘The list of charges goes on and on,’ said RCMP Sgt. Rob Hughes

Most Read