Rock to Road

News
Abbotsford identifies aggregate areas


August 19, 2009
By Andy Bateman

August 19, 2009 – The Aldergrove Star reported today on potential aggregate
sources in the City of Abbotsford B.C.

“The City of Abbotsford
has pinpointed specific areas for possible future gravel pits, to help bolster
an industry worth tens of millions of dollars each year.

 

While the move would eliminate the potential approval of gravel
applications in all areas of the city, it could result in more projects
breaking ground in these new "eligible areas."

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The city is proposing four such areas: one in the southwest area of
Abbotsford, and three to the east. The eastern locations take in portions of Sumas Mountain,
parts of the old Electoral Area H on Sumas
Mountain, and Barrowtown.

 

A number of gravel pits already operate in these locations.

 

The proposals will now be pitched to the public during a series of
meetings, the dates for which have not been confirmed.

 

According to a study presented to council on Monday, the southwest area
could have the greatest potential impact on residents.

 

It identifies lands south of Fraser
Highway, between Sumas Way and the Langley border, which could be appropriate
for gravel extraction. The majority of those pockets have been identified as
being between Mount Lehman Road
and 276th Street,
away from parks, water sources, prime farmland, subdivisions and other built-up
areas.

 

Meanwhile, council may vote to exclude the area north of Simpson Road due to
the relatively high number of soil removal operations that have been approved
there in the past.

 

The issue of eligible areas for gravel extraction has been on the table
for more than a year, with a first phase of public meetings taking place in
2008.

 

Coun. Patricia Ross said at Monday's council meeting that the discussion
should be delayed further until a biophysical inventory is completed on Sumas Mountain,
and an ongoing study of water courses is finished. However, the majority of
council ruled that these studies should be completed in tandem with the public
consultation.

 

Ultimately, Abbotsford Mayor George Peary said there will be "push
and pull" as the city's proposals are debated with the public.

 

"This report will set a course for the next 50-plus years," he
said.

 

"What we are trying to do is set a path that will alleviate some of
the angst of looking into applications on an ad-hoc basis. This is the first
step on a journey."

 

Abbotsford produces 6.4 million tonnes of aggregate – gravel, fill, sand
and crushed rock – each year.

 

The 6.4 million tonnes has
an economic value of $40 million to $50 million, plus another $20 million to
$30 million for transportation.”