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Controversial Joe Rich gravel pit gets the go ahead

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010 | 5:00 am

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By Kathy Michaels

Despite considerable public opposition, the province green-lighted a permit application for a Joe Rich area gravel pit, MLA Norm Letnick confirmed Tuesday afternoon.

After eight years, the operator of the Pyman Road pit, CRC Developments Ltd. met the requirements of the B.C. Ministry of Mines’ and received their quarry permit March 2 — although, that approval came with conditions.

“The current process for approving aggregate extraction rests solely with the mines inspector, however I am pleased to read that the operator has agreed to a number of mitigative measures on the operation,” Letnick said.

Concessions made by the operator are as follows:

  • An agreement not to permit trucks to enter the highway from Dec. 1 to March 31 after 4 p.m.
  • A reclamation security deposit for the Agricultural Land Commission
  • All recommendations from the McTavish Environmental Assessment report must be followed
  • Site security lighting will be shaded to reduce light pollution
  • No fuel storage on site
  • All soil stockpiles shall be vegetated
  • Progressive reclamation shall be conducted with no more than five hectares disturbed at any time
  • All loads tarped

Whether that will be enough to placate those who have stood in opposition to the site for the better part of the last decade remains to be seen.

A January public meeting required by the Ministry’s permit process lured out about 70 Joe Rich residents, who raised  concerns about how the gravel pit would impact their quality of life.

“I will be really affected by this,”  said Milanna Green,  who at that time lived about two kilometres away from the  pit site.

“I’ve lived up there for almost 20 years and I would invite you guys to come hang out at my place right now to see how quiet it is and then I want to find out what kind of dust and noise is going to start happening at my house once this starts happening.”

Those concerns were echoed by many in the crowd, while others addressed the logistics of having gravel trucks driving along a road that Black Mountain Elementary school students trundle along on their way to and from school.

While the decision is bound to raise the ire of locals, Letnick pointed out that issues around gravel pits are being addressed through a committee he is involved with.

“The newly created aggregate steering committee is working diligently to consult with the public as we study and develop recommendations on which areas of the central Okanagan should be considered for future aggregate extraction and which should not, and also other recommendations regarding the aggregate process that we could offer to the minister of mines,” he said.

Follow Kelowna.com for reaction to the decision.

Controversial Joe Rich gravel pit gets the go ahead5.052

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3 Responses to “Controversial Joe Rich gravel pit gets the go ahead”

  1. Dave says:
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    I looked at the work permit for this pit that was posted on the web.
    The applicant’s address appears the same as a corp. that owns 3 golf courses in Kelowna. I think if one has a strong opposition to this type of pit.
    At the very least, you should boycott playing on those courses if this is the same company.
    They appear to want to profit from the beauty of the valley, yet they choose to mar it at the same time.

  2. Geoff says:
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    This is disappointing. The bottom gate of this pit is about 35 feet from mission creek. All that separates the pit from the creek is a dirt road.

    Some accidents are preventable this one just got the go ahead.

    This pit effects everyone down stream that drinks the water from the black mountain irrigation district get ready for those high turbidity warnings.

  3. Gene says:
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    Norm was a blockhead in Banff- lost a couple mayoralty elections, came to kelowna and blew his horn non stop- Now, we are weighed down by his lack of foresight- Tragedy- at least Banff saw through his Reaganistic environmental concerns and sent him packing- Too bad about this ill conceived go ahead.

    Please continue discussion on the forum: link

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