The County of Stettler’s Municipal Planning Commission (MPC) approved a development permit for a gravel pit operation near Big Valley, Alta. with conditions.
The decision was made by the board, which is composed of county council, at the regular MPC meeting Aug. 25.
The application was made by James Marshall Trucking Ltd., and was presented by planner Craig Teal of Parkland Community Planning Services (PCPS), noting in a memo to council, “The subject property is located approximately 9.17 km southwest of the Village of Big Valley and abuts Range Road 21-0 along its eastern boundary.
“The property is described as the SE-36-34-21- W4M with the proposed + 12.8 hectare development area being within the quarter section’s southeast portion.”
Teal directed board members to a map included in the memo describing the subject areas being that enclosed in the double yellow line (see map).
The “disturbance area” was described as 9.3 hectares in size and the report stated it’s estimated there are 400,000 tonnes of aggregate remaining within the subject area.
Teal stated the property is mostly pasture outside the subject area, there is one residence on the property which is owned by the applicant and occupied by an employee of the applicant, there are no wetlands on the property and there are no oil and gas developments inside the subject area, except for an abandoned Shell well site.
The staff recommendation was to approve the development permit with a number of conditions, including compliance with an operations plan, the permit being valid for 10 years, operation time of Monday to Saturday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., an annual plan submitted to the county describing the volume of stockpiles, dust control, road use agreements, typical tidiness/signing/fencing requirements and other conditions.
Board member James Nibourg asked if the required reclamation security deposit would be enough if the permit lasts 10 years.
James and Crystal Marshall were present and responded to some questions. They stated they’ve tried to contact Shell about an abandoned well with no luck so far and that Alberta Environment has the authority to increase the security deposit after five years.
The Marshalls also pointed out they’ve paid a deposit for the entire footprint despite the fact they’re not using the entire footprint.
During discussion, board members agreed to remove the security deposit from the development permit for that reason.
The Marshalls also asked that certain hours of operation be increased to seven days a week, as a gravel operation has to be profitable during construction season.
Board members discussed this point at great length and it was eventually suggested that the hours of operation be removed from the development permit and instead addressed through a road use agreement which allows some flexibility on days of operation.
Councillors unanimously approved the development permit application with conditions including road use agreements as discussed and also removal of the security deposit.
Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative reporter