Stettler County grants 10-year permit to Big Valley area gravel pit

The Lever Action pit’s northern wash pond partially constructed over wetland that was classified as marsh. Wetland continues to the west (left hand side of photo). ECA Review/Submitted
Written by Stu Salkeld

The County of Stettler’s Municipal Planning Commission (MPC) granted a 10-year development permit to a gravel pit near the Village of Big Valley. The decision was made at the Dec. 9 MPC regular meeting.

The MPC is comprised of members of council and chaired by Coun. James Nibourg. Coun. Dave Grover attended by teleconference.

Planner Anika Drost of Parkland Community Planning Services presented an application from numbered company 1082604 Alberta Ltd. for a development permit for a gravel pit commonly referred to as the Lever Action pit located at NE 25-35-20-W4M including an area of 144.47 acres (58.42 ha) for the purposes of “Sand, Gravel and Surface Mineral Extraction & Sand, Gravel and Surface Mineral Processing,” according to the application.

“The subject property is located approximately 1.2 km east of the Village of Big Valley and abuts

Hwy. 56 along its eastern boundary,” stated Drost in her presentation. “Uses within close proximity of the development area include agricultural land, a residence located on a separate title on the quarter section’s northeast corner, a residence on the quarter section to the west of the development area, and a gravel pit to the east of the proposed development, adjacent to Hwy. 56.”

Drost stated the application included information that the subject property contains an estimated 100 tonnes of aggregate and that it will be mined over the next 15 years if the application was approved. 

“The applicant performs sand and gravel extraction on site, including sand and gravel washing,” stated Drost’s report. “The aggregate is stockpiled on site to be hauled off-site by the operator’s gravel trucks or to be sold on site and hauled by the customer or their contracted haulers.”

She explained the applicant would work six days a week. 

“The operating hours for the development are proposed from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., from Monday through Saturday, with no operations occurring on Sundays. 

Operations include loading and transporting stockpiles and washing aggregate materials. 

Crushing also occurs during operating hours, but typically occurs only once every two years for a period of 30 days.”

Drost stated possible noise was considered below the level that would be a nuisance for residences and it was also stated the gravel pit would have no effect on air quality for the nearby residences.

While explaining the application Drost also noted a number of conditions the County of Stettler required be added, including #3 which was a 10-year duration for the permit, #5 to 7 which require the posting of signs and payment of outstanding cap levy fees and #19 and 20 which require a reclamation plan.

Nibourg asked if the village had been consulted about this application, and while Drost didn’t know County Development Officer Jacinta Donovan stated they had been consulted. 

Board member Dave Grover also confirmed the village council had been approached near the beginning of the application process and their concerns addressed.

Nibourg stated there had been issues in the past with dust and noise from this gravel pit. Director of Municipal Services Andrew Brysiuk stated those concerns were related to a 24-hour gravel crush that occurred early in the pit’s life.

Nibourg then noted no road use agreement would be needed because the pit uses only a provincial highway.

Nibourg asked if the applicant had paid all outstanding cap levy fees and Brysiuk stated the applicant had paid them all and was up to date.

Councillors unanimously granted the permit application.

 

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.