File photo: Kelly Hayes
File photo: Kelly Hayes

Gravel pit opposition growing

by - Story: 36674

Residents along Lakeshore Drive refuse to give up in their opposition to a proposed gravel pit in their neighbourhood.

Eagle Mountain Aggregate applied for mining permit to open a gravel pit in the 6800 block of Lakeshore Road, just past Bertram Creek Regional Park, at the base of Okanagan Mountain Park.

The application was made in February, 2007 and the neighbourhood resolve is as strong as it has ever been.

"The neighbourhood is not going to give up its opposition to this application," says Peter Pazdernik who lives next to the proposed gravel pit.

He says the application, made by Byron Dafoe of Eagle Mountain Developments, is asking for:
  • Five year extraction
  • To extract 500,000 tonnes of aggregate
  • Operating five days a week, eight hours a day.

Pazdernik says area residents, the City of Kelowna and Regional District all oppose the gravel pit.

He says Minister of State for Mining, Kevin Krueger, has toured the site and understood concerns over road impact and environmental concerns.

"He agreed there is a road safety issue, but said we cannot and have not in the past ever shut down an application. All we do is go back to the applicant and say they need additional research and studies before the permit is granted."

Pazdernik says they have concerns over road safety along Lakeshore Road, over the economic impact to area wineries and Bertram Creek Park, and the proximity to Okanagan Mountain Park and fish spawning areas.

"The site itself is right adjacent to Deeper Creek, which is a salmon spawning ground. It's about 10 metres off the creek which is absolutely ridiculous."

The City of Kelowna commissioned a study concerning safety issues on Lakeshore Road. The report, compiled by Ophus Hamilton Consultants, identified concerns regarding pavement strength and the possibility for increased failure of the pavement structure due to repeated travel by loaded gravel trucks.

In addition to road safety concerns, the residents have expressed other concerns, including:
  • Dust pollution causing severe health risks (Silica dust from Gravel operations is carcinogenic)
  • Noise pollution from continuous gravel truck and commercial service vehicle traffic
  • Increase in taxation to pay for upgrades to the road and expected road repairs
  • Serious environmental concerns (the pit site borders Deeper Creek – a fish spawning ground)
  • Negative economic impact on Vineyards, Orchards, and recreational users.

The application is still before the Ministry.

Local residents have stepped up their campaign against the gravel pit, with approximately 150 signs opposed to the site as well as a letter and petition campaign.

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