Feature Story                                                       Thursday March 24, 2016


The Gravel Grapes

There's gold in them thar hills 

Staff/Voice photos


Area C residents greeted incoming Directors at the special meeting Tuesday. Below, Kat Wahama sings one of her homespun songs: "Conflict Gravel"


ou only get gold when two neutron stars slam together. So it's really rare stuff. But there were lots of nuggets at the FVRD board meeting Tuesday for another historic meeting with Deroche residents over gravel extraction.


So there was Madam Chair, Queen Mayor Sharon Gaetz, gleaming in the middle, flanked by all her merry men. Some not so happy to be there by the look of it. But, when you're popular guys like City Hall Coun. Sam Waddington and Coun. Jason Lum, and you get more votes than the other guys, you get to sit in on lots of FVRD meetings.


The stage was set. All the players were there. It was everybody's big night. The FVRD, the City, Deroche residents, Gaetz. They could have sold tickets to what was a full house. The only thing missing were the smoke machines, coloured lights and elephants.


Even though residents failed to stop the Temporary Use Permit, and lost that battle, they're still winning the war. It won't be anything different than what they're already used to except some added crushing.

They're winning because they have the power to make the FVRD board sit through 7 gruelling hours of monotonous commentaries. A torture the City can't inflict upon them. Lum was so tired, he was hitting the wrong mic buttons. 

And Gaetz? She loved every minute of it. Why wouldn't she? "Alert the media, I'm taking a bath." She's one of the best at self-promotion and dressed for the occasion. There were special pajama privileges for a sleepover. It takes a lot of pull to do that with the FVRD.

The fun for Gaetz was that she got to introduce her new City Hall crew to the powerful residential community of Deroche, Lake Errock and Harrison Mills.

The only one who really didn't want to be there, was the proponent. At one point, he leaned over, looked me in the eye and said "I've been doing this since 2004."

Area C residents came prepared for a long one. Wendy Bales was in her jams. Below, the man in the center is the mine's proponent.

The old hippies don't appear to have plans to take it laying down the next time the proponent runs out gravel either. And Gaetz's City Hall crew? They're going have to sit there for a few more rounds of grannies bitching at them for hours like they were caught in was a bad dream.

Last year, the BC Civil Liberties Assn lawyers called the FVRD "undemocratic". But all of that show Tuesday is as democratic as you're going to get? No?

Gaetz in her infamously beautiful outfit some women commented on vs. Deroche women right at home in their jams. Everybody was ready for 7 hours. But that's how the Deroche community works. Together, as one big hammer. They're a long way from being done.

Listen to the full version of Conflict Gravel as sung by Kat Wahama and the Raging Grannies.




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