Batch plant battle continues

Territorial Contracting and McLean Lake residents remain at loggerheads over the business’s application to rezone 14 hectares of land near…

Territorial Contracting and McLean Lake residents remain at loggerheads over the business’s application to rezone 14 hectares of land near Sleeping Giant Hill for a cement batch plant.

Nevertheless, the application is poised to pass another hurdle — first reading at city council next week.

“I know there are a few outstanding issues for McLean Lake, but the proponent seems to have done everything that was required of him,” said councillor Jan Stick.

“I will vote for it so we can go to public hearing and people have an opportunity to voice their concerns again,” she said Tuesday.

“I don’t have a problem with the development at all,” said councillor Dave Austin.

“We need the development; we need the gravel and if these subdivisions get built we’re going to need more of it.”

It was mayor and council’s first meeting after the October 19th election, and they dug into the issue right off the bat, with discussions taking up most of the two-and-a-half hour meeting.

McLean Lake residents are battle weary, said association member Marianne Darragh, a 26-year resident of the area.

But they will keep fighting the development, arguing it will create dust and noise, impact water and air quality, and decrease property values around McLean Lake and the subdivision planned beyond Copper Ridge.

The industrial development has already passed the Yukon Environmental Assessment and Land Application Review Committee, and the Yukon government will hand over the land pending council’s zoning approval.

Although the development is now poised to pass another hurdle in council, it has been a long time coming, said Territorial Contracting owner Ron Newsome.

“It’s been a long process,” he told council.

“We’ve put a lot of effort into this process to try and mitigate concerns.

“For the Yukon that’s what we need — we need private industry and local industry and jobs and that’s a good direction for the city to go.”

In March, council postponed voting on the development pending a third-party review of the environmental assessments.

Two draft reports reviewing the application, completed by Gartner Lee, were tabled this week.

The first looked at whether it met legislative requirements. The second, how it has addressed stakeholder concerns, like the McLean Lake association and the Kwanlin Dun First Nation.

Both confirmed the prior reviews were thorough and complete.

Newsome wants to increase production to meet the growing demand for cement and gravel in the territory.

Territorial Contracting has held temporary leases at Ear Lake since the ‘80s.

It began applying for permits to move to McLean Lake in 1988.

Why does it want to move?

Location: “It’s the most suitable site in the city,” said Access Consulting environmental scientist Paul Inglis.

It has a 50-year supply of rock to quarry, which Newsome plans to extract in three phases.

Hauling resources is an expensive proposition, so the closer the plant is to city demand, the better.

There are already eight active quarries in the area.

And there’s an active haul road to get the stuff out.

The site will not be visible from area houses, said Inglis.

What little water it will use will be kept in ponds on the property for reuse and will not impact the local lake or creek.

“Very little dust” escapes from the batch plant, said Newsome.

A complex system filters dust from the outgoing air and drops the cement back in the silo.

Meanwhile, McLean Lake residents are asking for more studies and more consultation.

“Let’s have a full-day discussion where we can look at this in detail,” said association member Bob Kuiper.

“McLean Lake is just waiting for somebody to protect it,” said Darragh.

If the batch-plant application passes first reading next week, there will be a public consultation period and public hearing slated for December 11.