Kneehill County to clear out gravel that’s not meeting requirements

Kneehill County council decided it will stop using certain gravel at some of its stockpile locations and clear it out, as the gravel in question doesn’t meet municipal specifications. The decision was made at the regular meeting of council March 23.

A report on the gravel problem was prepared by Kylie Van der Kuil, transportation assistant, who described the problem the department is having with gravel purchased in a 2013 agreement.

“At the Oct. 20, 2020, Committee of the Whole meeting, administration provided council a report on the Delia gravel stockpile,” stated the council memo. 

“The report stated that in 2008 Kneehill County entered into a five-year agreement to purchase and stockpile gravel in the Delia area.

“In 2013 additional gravel was purchased utilizing the original 2008 contract. The gravel purchased in 2013 from the Delia area is not meeting Kneehill County’s specification of a 4-20 road crush that we provide for County gravel roads. 

“Council instructed administration to bring back recommendations to dispose of the gravel at a cost recovery rate.

“In 2019 Kneehill County entered into an agreement with R&D Pilot Truck Ltd. as the original contract ended in 2013 for storage of the stockpile gravel. 

“This agreement allowed Kneehill to remove the gravel through the winter months while also allowing R&D Pilot Truck Ltd. to haul gravel to Hiller stockpile site for the next four years at 10,000 tonne per year, at a cost favourable to the county.

“Kneehill County currently has the Delia gravel stockpiled at the following locations: Trochu north, Three Hills shop yard, Hiller stockpile, Redland stockpile and Delia gravel pit site.”

Administration recommended to hold a ‘Gravel Blitz Days’ at these four sites. 

“This initiative would see gravel sold to local area residents and/or possible other government agencies at a cost recovery of $19 per tonne,” the reported concluded.

At least one councillor was not happy with the situation. 

Coun. Jim Hugo made a motion to table the entire issue “for more information on financials from 2013 to 2019.” However, this motion was defeated in a 1 to 6 vote.

During the meeting staff explained in 2013 tests on the gravel weren’t conducted as often as they are now. During discussion it was stated that the unsuitable gravel retains more water.

Coun. Ken King stated he had concerns similar to Coun. Hugo and felt an explanation was needed when the county bought the gravel after inspection then discovered it was not suitable. 

King also stated the price of $19 may be too high and may be difficult to sell.

Reeve Jerry Wittstock stated a contractor has voiced some interest in the gravel plus Kneehill residents will have first stab at this gravel on a cost-recovery basis.

Councillors passed two motions, first to cancel the current agreement with R&D Pilot Truck Ltd. for the hauling of gravel to the Hiller stockpile and enter into an agreement to sell the remainder of gravel located at the Delia pit at a cost recovery; and second to offer a “Gravel Blitz Days” to sell the remainder of the stockpiled gravel located at Trochu north, Three Hills yard, Hiller stockpile, and Redland stockpile for a cost recovery rate of $19 per tonne.


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.