Sunday, June 17, 2012

Community Meeting

Striking A Balance

APP Gravel consortium  public consultation June 26  

Sourced by Voice staff from the FVRD

 

am pleased to announce that a significant milestone has been reached with respect to the Aggregate Pilot Project and that it is time to move into the second phase of the public consultation process with respect to this initiative.

As members of the public are likely aware, gravel operations can generally be located anywhere in the electoral areas of the Region under the current legislative scheme. This has led to historic and ongoing conflicts between residents and gravel operators. In response to this, the Aggregate Pilot Project was initiated in 2004 by the Minister of State for Mines for the purpose of developing recommendations and strategies for reducing these conflicts and ensuring a stable long term supply of aggregate for our region. This also provides more certainty to landowners and industry alike as to where new gravel operations may be located in the future.

"The feedback that we have received from the public since the beginning of the APP, has been invaluable to reaching the milestone we are pleased to share with you today. The newly developed bylaw will protect our region's most sensitive areas and ensure that any gravel removal is carried out in the most sustainable and environmentally sound manner that has our public's best interest in mind," said FVRD Chair Sharon Gaetz in a release on Friday.

The Aggregate Pilot Project involved the Fraser Valley Regional District, the Ministry of Energy and Mines, and the Aggregate Producer’s Association of BC. These three parties have worked together over a period of time and have come up with a set of recommendations and APP Mapping designations which will assist in guiding the implementation of the Aggregate Pilot Project.

Towards this end, the FVRD Board endorsed the development of a new electoral area soil removal bylaw which sets out: a ‘Red’ map designation encompassing over 77,500 hectares (191,000 acres) of sensitive lands where new gravel operations will not be allowed; 

  • permitting conditions and approval requirements that aggregate operators must meet and address with respect to dust, noise, nuisance and other environmental impacts which can result from aggregate operations; and

  • annual fees on gravel removal that will support improved administration and enforcement of bylaws related to gravel operations – these costs will be shifted from electoral area taxpayers to industry.

  • As well, zoning, community plan and related bylaw amendments will follow which will allow for additional public consultation opportunities as they come forward.

As is typical under the legislation which governs these processes, negotiations with respect to the Aggregate Pilot Project have largely been conducted between the Province, the FVRD and the Aggregate Producers. To guide our efforts, the FVRD has engaged with electoral area residents and other stakeholders at key times.

For example, a public dialogue about the Aggregate Pilot Project was held in October, 2010. From the extensive feedback we have received to date, it is clear that rural residents are passionate about protecting the environment and rural lifestyles that are so highly valued in many of those communities. We are aware of the concerns that have been raised around impacts that gravel operations may have on these values. All would acknowledge however that gravel is a vital commodity which is important to the economic sustainability and viability of the Province.

It is now time to, again, invite all members of the public as well as industry representatives to a Public Information Meeting on June 26, 2012 at Evergreen Hall in Chilliwack (9291 Corbould Street) at 7:00 pm. The purpose of this meeting is to share information with you and to hear your views on this initiative. We encourage your participation and sincerely hope you will join us. Doors to Evergreen Hall open at 6:30 pm. Displays will be available for viewing in advance of the meeting. Please note that the Board will not be making any decisions respecting the Aggregate Pilot Project or related bylaws at this time.

For further information, please visit our website at www.fvrd.bc.ca, email us here or call us at 604-702-5000 or 1-800.-528-0061.

 

© Copyright (c) 2012 The Valley Voice