Gravel pit dominates debate
The livelihood of a Coldstream business is being weighed against the toll it’s possibly having on nearby residents.
Coldstream politicians continue to struggle on whether to allow Coldstream Ranch to extend mining operations at the Rosebush gravel pit in Lavington.
The ranch has been mining the pit since approximately 1995, with a long-term goal to reclaim the property with improved land conditions.
“The result of improvement for agriculture is moved up by two agricultural classes in terms of being able to grow crops more efficiently,” said Ted Osborn, director of projects with the ranch, told council Monday.
The total project is 73 hectares, and the ranch needs Coldstream to forward its application to the Agricultural Land Commission for non-farm use in the remaining nine hectares (split into two phases).
If approved, it could be another 10 to 12 years until the project is complete, at a proposed reclamation rate of two to four hectares per year (there are 32 hectares left to be reclaimed).
But the mining wouldn’t go on that long.
“It depends on movement of product from the area,” said Osborn, estimating five to six years to complete extraction in the final phases.
But considering those phases are closest to Buchanan Road, where several residents have concerns about dust, noise and impacts of the pit, Coldstream politicians aren’t ready to make a hasty decision.
“We’ve watched the gravel pit go from a small, one-up by the railway tracks and spread across and I understand the need and desire of the ranch to generate some income from the gravel pit, however from a council perspective, we also have to consider the residents,” said Coun. Peter McClean.
“Whereas it was out of sight out of mind before, it is now fairly present to the residential owners.”
Coun. Gyula Kiss agreed.
“These people have been subject to a great amount of trouble and these people are also paying taxes.”
While she also has concerns for nearby homeowners, Coun. Maria Besso was pleased to hear that the final phase of the project, which is closest to residents, would be the shortest.
“My concern is about the encroachment to Buchanan Road but if it done fairly quickly it might make it more favourable.”
Mayor Jim Garlick was absent Monday and council agreed to wait until he is present to they can discuss the issue further.
Kiss was opposed to deferral, while Buchanan Road resident Jeff Mellows was pleased with the choice.
“I don’t think there’s any haste in this matter,” said Mellows, representing neighbours opposed to the Rosebush operation.
He suggested council dig up more information on the project and place some restrictions on it.