Path cleared for batch plant

After years of fighting, residents of McLean Lake will probably see the creation of a cement batch plant in their backyards.

After years of fighting, residents of McLean Lake will probably see the creation of a cement batch plant in their backyards.

The McLean Lake Residents Association has long rallied against contractor Ron Newsome’s proposal to build a plant on McLean Lake Road.

But in the draft 2009 Official Community Plan city planners are proposing expanding the industrial designation along that road to include the plant.

Meanwhile, the city has proposed creating a park around the perimeter of McLean Lake.

“I’m very encouraged that a park is being considered by the city, but I’m also very discouraged the city wants to go ahead with industrial development in a park,” said Skeeter Miller-Wright who sits on the executive of the McLean Lake Residents’ Association.

“It’s contrary to what was brought up during (2009) OCP charettes I was part of, as well as responsible land-use planning.”

Twice the association took the city to court for overstepping its authority as laid out in the 2002 Official Community Plan in allowing the concrete batch plant to go ahead.

Both times the courts ruled in favour of the residents, stalling the plant’s development.

“It’s not just the residents association, but people all over the city who have supported protection of the area,” said Miller-Wright

He’s referring to a petition circulated in 2008 signed by 2,654 residents.

Newsome was surprised to learn that administration was proposing to change the zoning of McLean Lake Road.

“I haven’t been in contact with the city about it,” he said.

“But it’s great news. Too bad this clarity didn’t come about years ago.”

Newsome and the resident’s association have been at an impasse for almost a decade.

“It’s cost a lot of money to both the city and myself … there were people working in wedges to delay things.”

People forget that in order for the city to grow to accommodate more people, they need building supplies like concrete to get the job done, he said.

“This does provide a lot of jobs and service to the community.”

He says his batch plant, which he has already cleared away trees in preparation for, will be a “greener development.”

But the plan at this point is still in its draft form, so he’ll wait for more definitive zoning changes before he starts building.

Miller-Wright will also be waiting.

“At this point, its just a draft and the resident’s association hasn’t had a chance to consider it. When that happens, then we’ll see.”

Contact Vivian Belik at