Board targets BX gravel pit

Politicians have joined the fight against a proposed gravel pit in the BX.

Politicians have joined the fight against a proposed gravel pit in the BX.

The Regional District of North Okanagan board  will ask Mines Minister Bill Bennett to personally review an application for a gravel extraction license on Brentwood Road instead of leaving a decision to ministry staff.

“This is an inappropriate place for a gravel pit,” said director Rob Sawatzky.

“We have a lot of gravel in B.C. and it doesn’t need to be there.”

Final approval for the application rests with the Ministry of Mines as well as the Agricultural Land Commission because the 10-acre site is in the Agricultural Land Reserve.

Mike Macnabb, director for the area, says there is a need for greater oversight of the proposal and Bennett could initiate a public hearing.

“It’s close to BX school and kids walk along that road,” he said, adding that there are 476 properties within a one-kilometre radius of the site and there are concerns about noise, dust and traffic.

He also says that there is inadequate road access and the proposal could negatively impact existing trail plans and BX Creek fish habitat.

Klayton Mertion, with Mertion Excavating, questions why RDNO is challenging his proposal when gravel extraction is allowed within the district’s zoning there.

“I bought the property on the basis of the (zoning) bylaws,” he said, adding that his goal is to support the construction sector.

“There’s not a lot of gravel sources in Vernon and not one on this side of town. This would be a benefit for anyone building on this side of town.”

Mertion insists he would follow all noise and dust rules, and he doesn’t understand why his plan has drawn such opposition from residents and  politicians.

“They’re all getting excited over something they believe will be huge. But it’s really going to be a small thing,”he said.

“There wouldn’t be trucks coming and going on a regular basis. They would only be there when material is needed.”

Mertion also states that an environmental study has been done to preserve wildlife.

“We are only trying to make the property we purchased landscaped and manicured to make a future home for our family.”