Proposed batch plant under review

The Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board is now seeking public comment on a controversial concrete batch plant in the McLean Lake Road of Whitehorse. Territorial Contracting Ltd.

The Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board is now seeking public comment on a controversial concrete batch plant in the McLean Lake Road of Whitehorse.

Territorial Contracting Ltd. wants to expand its existing lot to make room for the plant. That requires a review of the project by the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessent Board.

The original application was made in October 2010, but a series of additional information requests has dragged the process out.

“Given the history of the project and the fact that it does have some pretty unique aspects associated with it, we just thought it prudent to fully understand the project prior to moving into the seeking views and information period,” said Jennifer Anthony, YESAB’s Whitehorse manager.

Last week, the application was “deemed complete” after the assessment board received a more comprehensive water management plan.

The controversial project has a long history.

The city originally approved an application to rezone the privately held land for use as both a gravel quarry and batch plant in 2006.

But a Yukon Supreme Court ruling quashed that decision, saying the water study for the gravel quarry had been inadequate.

The concrete batch plant application then came back to council, minus the gravel quarry, and was passed.

But a second court case in 2008 found that the city had contravened its own Official Community Plan by allowing the company to build the plant.

A subsequent case in 2009 appealed that decision and the project was given the go-ahead.

The company says the plant will be designed to minimize the amount of fresh water obtained from groundwater wells by recycling as much water as possible.

To allay concerns about water management at the site and prevent contamination of nearby McLean Lake, the site will have two settling ponds, a four-chamber settling tank and tanks for suspected contaminated water.

The assessment board has given the public three weeks to provide feedback on the issue instead of the usual two, said Anthony. That’s because of the nature of the project and the fact that it’s right in the middle of the holiday season.

The deadline for public comment is Jan. 3, but this period could be extended upon request.

Based on the current schedule, the board is expected to issue its evaluation report and recommendations by Jan. 20.

Contact Chris Oke at chriso@yukon-news.com