Process narrows for pit
Controversial gravel pit plans in the BX still have a narrow opportunity for approval.
On Wednesday, the Regional District board refused to send an application from Mertion Excavating to remove gravel from a Brentwood Road property to the Agricultural Land Commission. However, the proposal can still go before another agency.
“The Ministry of Mines could still approve it,” said Rob Smailes, RDNO’s general manager of planning and building.
“Whether they will or not, who knows.”
Mertion Excavating wants to remove about 60,000 metres of gravel over five years from the two-hectare property.
However, a 1,100-name petition opposes gravel removal for a number of factors, including a potential impact on nearby BX Creek, noise, dust and traffic.
“We are here to represent the public,” said Mike Macnabb, BX-Silver Star director.
Macnabb says there are 476 properties within a one-kilometre radius of the site and he refutes the Mertion’s claims that gravel extraction will make the land more usable for farming.
“I don’t believe it will improve agriculture on the existing property and it could negatively impact neighbouring properties.”
Becky Mertion told the board that she and husband Klayton bought the site in 2012 and the ultimate goal is to construct their home there.
“We have followed all of the bylaws put in place for our area,” she said.
“None of our neighbours have come to us to express their concerns.”
Becky Mertion insists the concerns are being taken seriously and there are alternate routes so gravel trucks don’t have to go near BX Elementary, berms can reduce noise and a water truck has been purchased to suppress dust.
Klayton Mertion believes gravel removal will improve the agricultural viability of the site, which has rocky and steep sections.
“There is very little soil in this area,” he said.
Support for the Mertion’s proposed ALC application came from Spallumcheen director Janice Brown.
“This is a prime example of land that is not agricultural land,” said Brown.