Garry Groen has applied to the B.C. Ministry of Mines to build a rock quarry beside Sooke Highway next to Martin Brook. At a public meeting held in Metchosin on November 16, 1998 all of the neighbours and residents attending were vigorously opposed. Council will pass along that message to the Ministry, but they seem confinced that a quarry will be approved some day in Metchosin. A summary of this application is on the next page, rock quarry. For a comparison of what could be the result of this application check out the page on the Belcharton Creek Quarry, it isn't very nice.
Ministry of Highways is widening a corner on Sooke Highway near the intersection of Kangaroo road. Great idea as it will improve the safety of a hazardous corner. Only problem is, they are removing a lot of rock and guess where it is being dumped. Right on top of some the enhancement work we have done at Martin Brook! Scott was driving by just as the backhoe operator was starting to push some piles of material over our little pine trees we planted two years ago. Scott went over and talked to the operator, who had no idea of the problem, he had just been told to clean up the site so the road material could be dumped there. The fellow was most apologetic and went on to work only on the other open part of the site. After several phone calls the rest of the enhanced area is to be left alone, there is after all a large area separate from the stream. We hope to have a meeting with Highways officials soon to negotiate some sort of clearly defining boundary along the enhanced section. Seems odd this happened at all since the manager in charge of the road widening project is one of the same people with whom the Martin Brook Site project was organized with in the first place.
The B.C. Ministry of Energy and Mines have reviewed the responses to the interagency referral and have put this application in abeyance pending the reciept from West Coast Aggregates Ltd., of the following:
B.C. Mines branch has now approved a gravel mine on the upper Pitt River with no independant study of its environmental impact. According to the May 8th, 1999 issue of the Vancouver Sun it is feared this will lead to the collapse one of the few healthy runs of Coho Salmon in the Georgia Strait. It is felt this will cause the same siltation and subsequent fish loss as occured in the Coquitlam River due to gravel mining. This does not bode well for the fish in Bilston creek as we are still waiting on the Mines branch!
Application for a Quarry opposite 3700 Sooke Road.
An application has been made to the Ministry of Energy and Mines by "West Coast Aggregates Ltd" for a Quarry on Section 39, Goldstream District (3700 block Sooke Road) owned by Garry Groen.
WCAL proposes a quarry on Garry Groens property located opposite 3701 Sooke road. Mr. Groen has been operating a small quarry on the site without benefit of the required Mines Permit. He now wishes to contract with WCAL to quarry essentially the entire property.
Quarrying & Associated Uses
The application estimates the annual extraction at 240,000 tonnes which is 82,759 cubic metres. Based on 240 working days per year and 12 cubic metres per truck, this would involve approximately 29 truck loads per day. At these rates, it is expected that it will take 56 years to exhaust the supply of material. In addition to quarrying, the rock is to be crushed and screened on site.
The consultants report states, "Only a single intermittent stream crossing the north portion of the property reaches the valley bottom at Bilston Creek." Indeed the subject property is within the Bilston Creek catchment area and therefore falls within the Bilston Watershed Development Permit Area. Mr. Jack McIntyre of McIntyre Associates, the consultant for WCAL, advises that the stream water would end up in the north settlement pond on the east boundary. The settlement pond water would be pumped out to follow the existing stream course through to Bilston Creek. Mr. McIntyre feels that the water quality would not be compromised. Staff of Metchosin Municipality feel that pumping of the water in perpetuity is unlikely, so it is expected that eventually there would be changes to the watershed.. Also, an Enviromental Assessment Board review is not triggered until the amount quarried reaches 250,000 tonnes per year. This proposal estimates 240,000 tonnes annually.
Greg Carriere, District Manager and Engineer, Mines Branch, opted to refer the proposal to the Vancouver Island Mine Development Review Committee based on his belief that it may be contentious. He states that the Committees mandate for the review of applications is much broader than simply technical issues. Mr. Carriere advises that representatives from the various agencies involved, including the District of Metchosin, may participate in this forum. All submissions must be received by the Ministry of Energy and Mines by December 3, 1998. As a condition of the application to Mines, WCAL must publish notice in the local newspaper and the B.C. Gazette.
The District of Metchosin has been advised by its solicitors that the "Mines Act" supersedes municipal land use authority with respect to the extraction of gravel or sand or the quarrying of rock. In this case, the quarrying of the rock to a reasonable size of approximately 0.6 m (2 ft) would not require zoning. However, processing of the rock to the various types of crushed materials and screening of the rock does require zoning.
Should the Mines Permit be approved, the following would be required: