Pits & Quarries
ASGA kicks off 2021 Annual Convention
By Andrew Snook
By Andrew Snook
Alberta Sand & Gravel Association executive director John Ashton kicked off the association’s first-ever virtual annual conference, which took place on January 13, 2021.
Joe Hustler, president of ASGA, opened up the annual business meeting discussing the 2020-21 budget and the work of the association through 2020, including the Truck Registry Sub-Committee and the Land & Environment Committee.
“I think it’s one of busiest years I remember,” he told the crowd.
Lesley Foy, the chair for the Land & Environment Committee offered an update on the committee’s work in 2020.
One of the highlights of the committee’s work was Bill 31: Environmental Protections Statutes Amendment Act, 2020, gaining Royal Assent, which stopped the delay of 500 for environmental permits for gravel pits across Alberta.
Last May, a court decision (Alexis v Alberta) ruled that Environmental Impact Assessments would be required for aggregate pits to receive approvals from the provincial government.
“This impacted the definition in how AEP defined aggregate extraction operations,” she said.
This decision caused about 500 applications for private and public land pit applications permits under review in Alberta to be put on hold.
In early June, ASGA was able to obtain a meeting with Environment Park Minister Jason Nixon explaining the need for this court decision to be remedied as quickly as possible. On July 7, the association was able to get Bill 31 tabled for its first reading, and by July 23, Bill 31 was passed with unanimous support receiving Royal Assent, allowing the applications to continue being processed.
Foy also offered updates on the AEP Sand and Gravel Backlog Project, AEP regulatory framework design, collaboration with RMA and AEP, and what to expect in 2021, including continued engagement with AEP on the new business design (application process) and associated documents; a new digital interface and application process for pits and the Water Act; collaboration with AEP for the release and the education of the new business design and guidance documents; and coordination with AEP on testing of the reclamation criteria.
ASGA’s Occupational Health & Safety Committee offered an update on its work in 2020.
OH&S committee chair Wayne Woodhouse discussed the committee’s work over this unprecedented year, including helping industry members respond to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
“In March, our group worked to roll out best practices for COVID and understand those things as OHS regulations were changing,” Woodhouse said.
The committee was also busy participating in a general OH& S regulation review, as well as a review of regulations for Part 36 Mining of the Occupational Health and Safety Code. Committee members were also active putting together an arc flash training webinar in November.
One of the key 2021 initiatives that Hustler discussed during the convention was the renewal of the Community Aggregate Payment Levy (CAPL), which will expire at the end of 2022.
The CAPL program was created by the ASGA, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Municipal Government with the purpose of assisting municipalities in offsetting the financial impact of aggregates operations within their boundaries.
Currently, a municipality can charge up to $0.40 per metric tonne of aggregate under the CAPL. Hustler said that industry prefers this over “random road fees” or other charges that vary from one municipality to another. Since 2006, $116 million has been paid into the CAPL.
Board of Directions election
There is currently an ongoing election to name several new members to the ASGA Board of Directors. The winners of the election will be announced this Friday, January 15.