Study to dig up need for gravel

Review of future gravel sites hopes to prevent ongoing conflict along North Westside Road

It’s hoped a review of future gravel sites will prevent ongoing conflict along North Westside Road.

The Regional District of Central Okanagan is proceeding with an aggregate supply and demand study.

“The most important and exciting potential outcome of the study would be the site suitability assessment checklist,” said director Jim Edgson.

There was considerable debate recently as the Westbank First Nation and Wescan sought provincial approval for a gravel operation south of LaCasa.

The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations has indicated the project will not proceed.

“A lot of people are relieved. This would have been a travesty,” said Diane Baldwin, with the North Westside Ratepayers Association.

“In the past three years, we never encountered one person that was in favour of this gravel pit except the proponents and government.”

Residents were concerned about traffic on Westside Road, which is narrow and windy. They also stated that a gravel pit could have had a negative impact on the environment.

“It is the last contiguous piece of land that wildlife can use unobstructed to get to the lake,” said Baldwin.

According to Edgson, RDCO was involved in considering the Westbank First Nation proposal.

“The board added to and enhanced the process through resolutions not supporting the application, but noting conditions we as a board would like to see should the province proceed,” he said.

“It is our understanding that many of the conditions imposed by the province were a direct result of issues identified by the RDCO.”

Edgson believes the aggregate supply and demand study will allow the regional district to be more involved in future consideration of gravel extraction locations.

“This review process will include input from the aggregate producers, the province, the public and all impacted agencies and stakeholders,” he said.