The Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board has given its go-ahead for plans to build a concrete batch plant along the shore of McLean Lake.
But the assessors included 47 conditions with their approval, ranging from monitoring noise levels to ensuring treed buffers around the plant. The plant would turn rock from an existing quarry into concrete.
The project, which has been with the assessment board since October 2010, has been bogged down with concerns about water.
Thirteen of the assessment board’s conditions pertain to water use. That includes regular monitoring and reporting of groundwater levels and the amount of water extracted from the lake.
The assessors have also stipulated that Ron Newsome and his company, Territorial Contracting, adhere to the rules in a B.C. code of practice for the province’s concrete industry when it comes to maintaining dust and operating the plant’s giant silos and baghouses.
Plans to build the concrete plant have been before the assessors longer than any other project, but the issue has been on the minds of residents and the City of Whitehorse even longer.
And Newsome says, plans were in the works even before that. He first brought up the idea to the territory in the early 1990s, he said.
Neighbours and conservationists want the area protected as a park. But many took city council’s rezoning of the area in the mid-2000s as an industrial area – a designation confirmed in the most recent Official Community Plan – as sealing the deal.
The assessment board was one of Newsome’s last steps before he can actually build the plant.
The Yukon government has until next month to approve, reject or change the assessment board’s recommendations.
Whitehorse’s hunger for gravel – a material needed to build roads and buildings – has also led city planners to submit plans to assessors for a new quarry in the Takhini River area, west of the Alaska Highway, despite opposition from nearby residents and farmers.