Gravel pit draws concern

Spallumcheen gets complaints about a Back Enderby Road quarry

A quarry quandary has the Township of Spallumcheen reviewing its bylaws.

The township and its council continue to receive letters of complaint about a quarry operation that began two years ago in the 5100 block of Back Enderby Road.

Neighbours believe the quarry is violating the existing bylaw’s language, which covers resource use on large holding properties.

Residents say in their letters the quarry’s operations have negatively impacted their lives, and many have issued complaints of inappropriate noise and dust to both the township and the provincial ministry of energy and mines.

This has resulted, said retired engineer Frank Hassard – who lives on Back Enderby Road – in owner/operator-accompanied site-visits by Spallumcheen’s bylaw enforcement officer, a mining engineer hired by the township, administrative time by Spallumcheen employees and lawyers for both sides contacting one another in an attempt to resolve the interpretation of the bylaw.

“Although the administration branch of Spallumcheen has looked into various ways to stop the perceived non-compliance with the bylaw, the activity will apparently continue,” said Hassard. “As will the complaints of non-compliance and the required subsequent investigations until the issue is appropriately and finally resolved.”

Mayor Janice Brown knows neighbours of the quarry operation are frustrated but said “what people have to realize is we can make rules, but we can’t make people abide by the rules.”

“We don’t have the staff to go out each day and monitor them,” said Brown.

Council has referred the matter to township staff to put on their to-do list and review the bylaw, its language and the zoning.

“We do have a lot of quarries in Spallumcheen,” said Brown.“I could see getting the quarries together and review the zoning bylaw because they will have to be consulted.”

The bylaw was one of a number in the township created in the mid-1980s.