McLean Lake imbroglio begins again

The next battle for McLean Lake is taking shape. On Monday, gravel quarry and batch plant proponent Ron Newsome recast his application to rezone his…

The next battle for McLean Lake is taking shape.

On Monday, gravel quarry and batch plant proponent Ron Newsome recast his application to rezone his McLean Lake property.

Now he simply wants four hectares rezoned to allow his concrete batch plant to be relocated on the site.

Newsome has put his request to allow a gravel quarry in the area on hold following last month’s Yukon Supreme Court ruling, which overturned council’s rezoning decision because the hydrological and hydrogeological studies called for in its Official Community Plan had not been done.

“We want to get a quarry going sometime,” said Newsome as he left the council chambers.

He is currently looking into the hydrology tests and how detailed they have to be.

“We’ll see what happens once all the facts are on the table.”

If they show that a gravel quarry would be harmful to the watershed, there are already 11 quarries nearby that could provide gravel for the concrete plant, said Newsome.

But the residents are already preparing to block Newsome’s application.

Even without the quarry, allowing the batch plant would be contrary to the Supreme Court’s 31-page decision, said Skeeter Miller-Wright, of the McLean Lake Residents Association.

The zoning is being changed from Future Development to Quarries to allow the development of the batch plant.

But the land designated Quarry is interim use only, and Newsome plans to run the plant for 50 years, said Miller-Wright.

“The judge made it quite clear that 50 years is not interim use,” he said.

“The way we, in the residents association, read the decision, we would have grounds to go to court again if they tried to put a batch plant up there.”

Also, the McLean Lake residents are currently preparing a petition to protect the lake and surrounding area, said Miller-Wright.

At this time they are unsure how many signatures they’ll need for their petition, but it could be around 2,000.

“We got over 200 people to pitch in on a two-page ad in the paper and we packed every city council meeting — there wasn’t even standing room,” said Miller-Wright.

“I don’t think we’ll have any trouble at all getting the signatures we need.”

On Monday, councillors asked several questions about Newsome’s newest proposal.

“The Official Community Plan says it must be ‘away from existing and future residential neighbourhoods,’” said councillor Dave Stockdale.

“That’s a very non-specific term that the judge can interpret in different ways. Are we far enough ‘away’ from these neighbourhoods?” he asked.

“I’m worried that that might get us into another court battle that might not be too successful either.”

The buffer was seen to be adequate when the matter was brought before the courts, said city planner Mike Gau.

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