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MD to hold public hearing for proposed gravel pit

Friday, 21 October 2022. Posted in Shootin' the Breeze

MD to hold public hearing for proposed gravel pit

MD to hold public hearing for proposed gravel pit
By Sean Oliver 
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter


Proposed amendments to a municipality’s land use bylaw can sometimes be a rocky affair. Not everyone always agrees on what the best use of land is, and what one party sees as an opportunity often has an equal number of people who view change as detrimental.

MD of Pincher Creek council considered one such proposal during its Sept. 13 regular meeting for a gravel pit located at SE-18-7-2-W5, southeast of the Highway 3 and Highway 507 intersection.

The applicant, Alberta Rocks Ltd., is proposing to change the current property designation from agriculture to direct control, a unique designation that would require any future changes outside the initial application to return to council for approval.

Alberta Rocks Ltd. initially applied for the gravel pit back in January 2020. The council at that time denied the proposal at second reading.

Though currently set aside for agricultural uses, the proponent says low moisture and nutrients limit the property’s grazing capacity. The aggregate deposit is currently covered by a thin, well-drained soil layer, with the nearest two residences about 300 metres away due north and 700 metres west of the proposed location. 

The proposed gravel pit would only be for an extraction operation, with no crushing or further processing occurring on site. No retail sales, buildings or bulk fuel storage tanks would be on site either. The access road to the pit would be on an adjacent east-west government road allowance.

Alberta Rocks Ltd. plans to build well-vegetated berms to block view of the gravel pit from both residences. With no crushing activities on site, the noise of operations will be significantly lower than at a site the company operates off Highway 3.

As a means of comparison, the proponent provided noise readings from the operating crushing pit. During full production, readings between 46.3 and 66.6 decibels were recorded, as compared to 36.5 to 47.7 decibels when measurements were taken 225 metres away at the access road.

Noise levels of Highway 3 traffic, located 65 metres away, registered up to 70.6 decibels, and a train on the Canadian Pacific Railway tracks 170 metres reached 71.5 decibels. 

In its application, Alberta Rocks Ltd. said the proposed extraction pit’s operating hours would only be weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., with no activity on weekends or holidays. 

Council approved first reading of the proposed land use amendment and scheduled a public hearing for Tuesday, Oct. 25, 6 p.m. in council chambers.