Residents dump on huge gravel pit plan as Rocky View councillors weigh approving it

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The county says 476 opponents have sent written submissions, with 15 in favour.

Even so, county administration has recommended it be approved, saying applicant Lehigh Hanson has addressed environmental concerns while vowing to mitigate residents’ property value losses.

A consultant for the company, whose applications for developing the site were rejected in 1994 and 2010, said this time a 4.5-kilometre conveyor belt that would transport gravel to its facility at Spy Hill inside the city is a game-changer.

“The overland conveyor will essentially eliminate the need for road trips (from the Scott property) . . . and will minimize dust,” said Ken Venner.

“A lot of things have changed since the last application . . . we’re all aware of the importance of a safe and secure source of aggregate to facilitate sustainable growth in Rocky View and the region as a whole.”

The Bearspaw site, which has been used as farmland, would be developed gradually in 24-hectare phases over 25 years and will eventually see 50 million tonnes of gravel extracted, he said.

Officials with Lehigh Hanson, which is owned by a German parent company, said its operation won’t reach the local aquifer, avoiding contaminating its neighbours’ groundwater wells, and have noted Alberta Health Services doesn’t object to the plan.

But many residents remain unconvinced, pointing to contrary expert opinions offered by geologists, physicians, engineers, hydrologists, noise specialists and economics professors.

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