City council mulls quarry plans near Crestview

A company's plans to dig a new gravel quarry north of Crestview is facing some opposition from nearby residents. Cee & Cee Dirt and Gravel Ltd. has made a scaled back application to create a new quarry.

A company’s plans to dig a new gravel quarry north of Crestview is facing some opposition from nearby residents.

Cee & Cee Dirt and Gravel Ltd. has made a scaled back application to create a new quarry, roughly four years after being turned down for a bigger project in the same area.

In 2011, the company proposed creating a 20.36-hectare quarry, which the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board denied on the grounds that it would be too close to a residential area (175 metres) and would have required a much longer haul road to the site (294 metres).

The company’s revised application was originally for a smaller, 4.7-hectare parcel of land approximately 750 metres from a residential area and 130 metres from the road. But it has since been reduced to 2.75 hectares to account for the board’s requirement of a 30-metre buffer between the site and the nearby Trans-Canada Trail.

The city still needs to grant permission to rezone the land from future planning and greenbelt to one that allows for the construction of a quarry.

Concerns were raised at a public hearing on June 15, as well as at Monday’s committee meeting, about the impact of creating a new quarry near the Crestview subdivision and adjacent wetlands.

Coun. Betty Irwin questioned a requirement that the applicant “protect environmental values,” which includes avoiding land-clearing activities while migratory birds are nesting in the area.

“Who will determine when that land clearing will happen, if the birds are disturbed, and who will enforce this?” she asked.

“I find these requirements to be very vague, to the point of being almost totally meaningless.”

Acting city manager Mike Gau replied the requirement was a common condition of the assessment board’s process and that the nesting season was well-known.

Land can be cleared before or after the season, he added.

Coun. Dave Stockdale sought confirmation that the area’s nesting grounds would be destroyed, adding that “you have to break a few eggs to make an omelet, unfortunately.”

Other concerns included the potential rise in noise, dust and traffic near Crestview.

According to administration’s report for council, signs would have to be posted in the area with information for how to make a complaint. And high-quality machinery would have to be used to mitigate noise and dust levels, and activity on site would be limited to the hours of 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Crushing activities would be limited to a period of one week per year.

Another requirement is for the company to clean-up the site upon completion of the project. That would include slope grading, landscaping and reforestation.

Kinden Kosick, a senior planner with the city, said the re-zoning could be beneficial in the future as the land would be flattened to potentially create viable building lots.

One written submission to council said the proposed development didn’t fit within the city’s tagline of being a “wilderness city.”

“We want to keep the disturbed areas together whereas the suggestion is to build it outside city limits,” Gau said.

“Well, now you’re introducing disturbance into undisturbed areas. The priority should be to limit disturbance.”

The company currently operates another quarry slightly north along the Alaska Highway, which is nearing the end of its lifespan. It wants to create an access road that would link the sites, so that both materials could be combined in order to maximize the remaining resources in the existing quarry.

Mike Ivens, a Crestview resident and member of the city’s trails and greenways committee, appeared at the public hearing to share his concerns about the project.

He proposed that the buffer be increased to between 50 and 100 metres, rather than 30.

“(The development) will destroy a beautiful and valuable hiking resource in the area if it’s implemented as it’s sketched out on the map,” he said.

However, a 50-metre setback would reduce the area to approximately 2.16 hectares and “greatly impact the viability of the project,” according to administration’s report.

Contact Myles Dolphin at

myles@yukon-news.com

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