Gravel pit permit granted, with cliff protections

Written by Stu Salkeld

Stettler County’s Municipal Planning Commission (MPC) granted a development permit for a gravel pit, with one councillor voting against based on concerns about an escarpment. The decision was made at the Sept. 28 regular MPC meeting.

The MPC is comprised of members of county council and chaired by Coun. James Nibourg.

An application from McNabb Construction Ltd. was presented by Parkland Community Planning Services’ Planner Craig Teal regarding property located at Só-34-41-17-W4M and SW 35-41-17-W4M for the purpose of both mining and storing aggregate or gravel.

“The subject property is located approximately 13.7 kilometres southeast of the Village of Donalda,” stated Teal’s report.

“The subject property spans across three quarter sections – the SW34, the SE34, and the SW35. It abuts Range Road 17-3 to the west and Highway 53 along its northeast boundary.

“The proposed development is an existing gravel pit and is not proposed to expand its current disturbance area. The proposed gravel pit is referred to as the ‘Meeting Creek Pit’ and is operated by McNabb Construction Ltd.

“The anticipated pit life is 10 additional years, with the development area being considered to be largely depleted. Due to accessibility to Hwy. 53, the intention for the site is the stockpiling of aggregate from other sites.”

During discussion it was mentioned several times that the area in question stretches across three quarter sections. Teal stated that the applicants explained they are only going to mine a ribbon of gravel about one metre wide and one metre deep as that’s all that’s left.

As well, other aggregate will be stockpiled on the site so the development permit will include both excavation and processing.

The summary noted neighbouring land uses are mainly hay and pasture land, with two residences within 400 metres of the development area.

Teal pointed out the noise and particulate report was mainly conducted in the middle of the operation and the report indicated both noise and particulate left the property and almost made it to one residence.

He stated that location and mitigation were considered factors in this and conditions were included in the development permit, including dust control, and that if complaints were received from the public then the applicant shouldn’t be surprised to get a call about them.

Teal’s report went into great detail on the gravel pit operations, and included the following points, among many others: Operating hours are proposed from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., from Monday through Saturday. There are no operations proposed for Sundays, unless required through contractual obligations.

Operations mainly including loading and transporting existing stockpiled materials. This will typically require one employee on site, with three to five employees during crushing. During normal operations, five to six trucks will haul up to 50 truckloads per day.

Teal’s report also noted that the site in question includes a “do not disturb” location which Alberta Culture has labelled as of archeological importance. No further disturbance is allowed on this location.

Teal stated that staff recommended a 10-year development permit as there were no concerns with the series of conditions as some have already been addressed.

Coun. Ernie Gendre asked about Stettler County’s cap levy (fee on aggregate) and whether it’s only applied to material mined at that location. The county’s Director of Municipal Services Andrew Brysiuk noted the cap levy is applied to aggregate when it is removed from the site from which it was mined.

The commission discussed weed control, and Nibourg stated he was in favour of developing a program for weed control in gravel pits, private or municipal owned, so things like stop orders weren’t involved.

Coun. Justin Stevens mentioned he was concerned about the escarpment and the piling of material in that area. Nibourg responded he’d think Alberta Environment would take erosion concerns into consideration.

Teal stated the changing of load sizes on a slope can be a concern and added the escarpment was open to allow cattle access to water.

The development permit was approved by a 6 to 1 vote with conditions, including that the site be secured, with Stevens opposed. Stevens stated he still had concerns about the escarpment.

Stu Salkeld
Local Journalism Initiative reporter
ECA Review

About the author

Stu Salkeld

Stu Salkeld, who has upwards of 28 years of experience in the Alberta community newspaper industry, is now covering councils and other news in the Stettler region and has experience working in the area as well.

He has joined the ECA Review as a Local Journalism Initiative Journalist.

Stu earned his two-year diploma in print journalism from SAIT in Calgary from 1993 to ’95 and was raised in Oyen, Alta., one of the communities within the ECA Review’s coverage area.