Tuesday April 3, 2012
The Peachland Protocol
Will FVRD disempower itself, 60 days before winning the right to control Conflict Gravel?
Submitted by Glen Thompson, Friends of the Chilliwack River Valley
pril 10th the FVRD are set to pass phase 1 of the Aggregate Pilot Project (APP). The Pilot was pitched as a provincial model for regional and municipal governments to regain control of conflict situations that erupted between aggregate producers and affected communities. Ironically the industry friendly deal could leave the FVRD as the least powerful region in the province, in controlling Conflict Gravel disputes.
APP passes the FVRD will abolish by-laws that limit and regulate
gravel extraction. The FVRD has claimed they are not able to enforce
the by-laws due to the high cost of legal fees and the uncertain
outcome in court. The FVRD admits the APP will end local control of
gravel. They claim that although the APP is less desirable than
continuing with the current by-law regime, that the APP is the only
mechanism that is enforceable. They claim that the FVRD desires to
control industry, as demonstrated by their by-laws, but that cost
and uncertainty of enforcement renders their level of government
Peachland reacted to the conflict in the same manner as the FVRD, it
passed by-laws to regulate gravel extraction. What was different in
Peachland ,was that when industry ignored the by-laws, Peachland
went to court. Little Peachland challenged the Provincial Mines Act
in 2010 and unlike the FVRD they are upholding their by-law. While
the case works its way through the system, Peachland returned to
court and won an injunction that shut down the gravel pit until the
case is resolved.
Peachland is victorious, small communities all over the province
will be empowered to regulate gravel extraction. The case will be
heard in Kelowna Provincial Court in the next 2 months. The FVRD
have for over a decade tried to achieve the same control with its
own by-laws. It appears they are about to give up on local control
just 60 days before Peachland potentially wins the battle for them.
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