REPORTING · 20th November 2015
On Monday, November 16th, Kitimat City Council saw several presentations on the topic of an application by Daudet Creek Contracting to create a Quarry and Borrow Pit along Highway 37. Two of the parties had signed up in advance of the meeting and three more people got up to speak.
Jack Oviatt was the first person to present to Council on behalf of his son, Shaun Oviatt, who owns Daudet Creek Contracting.
“I’m here tonight representing him to clarify some of the misinformation that is out there about this application for a new gravel pit south and east of the Cable Car,” said Oviatt. “Some people in the Cable Car think it is between Cable Car and the dump. That’s not the case. It is east of the highway and south of the dump.”
He showed Council the spot on the map, 1.6 kilometres from the Cable Car intersection, and told them the application is primarily for a gravel pit and there will be a small area for a rock quarry. He explained If the quality of the gravel is too sandy, they will add quarry material to improve the quality.
“We don’t believe the material in this area will require additional additives but it is part of the application anyway,” said Oviatt.
He stated the first phase of the application is over 2.5 kilometres from the entrance of Cable Car, but access to the highway has yet to be determined or approved by the highways department.
“The reasons we need a new location: we presently operate a pit on Forest Avenue that has an extremely limited life span. As a matter of fact we’ll have to close that location this year as that source has been exhausted. Other operators in the area have the same problem. The lifespan of their operations is also limited. We do however have a rock quarry on Forest Avenue that has a 10 year lifespan so it is unlikely that we will need to develop a rock quarry in the new site for several years, maybe not at all if the material is what we hope for,” said Oviatt.
He expressed he does not expect the gravel from this quarry to last through the next summer.
He moved on to public concerns. Oviatt expressed there was a petition going around Cable Car which he believed started because people had the location wrong. He stated the negatives were points from the public comment flier.
Oviatt hoped this would improve public recreation, by creating another access road to the jumping bridge, as access from the south was no longer available. With the new pit, they will upgrade the road to have two lanes, and it will be graded continuously to allow free access to the road beyond their extraction area. Access to the road will not be denied, but site access will be restricted.
“The extraction area is far enough away from the Cable Car area that noise will not be an issue. It’s well beyond the dump, which, for all intents and purposes is a gravel pit in itself which supplies cover material to bury garbage. The extraction area will be below grade, which itself, will offer its own sound barrier,” said Oviatt.
He told Council they were going to leave a buffer zone in place. The sound however will be able to be heard from the Rifle Range and they cannot lesson the noise.
Oviatt did say dust was something they were going to have to manage. They will be putting countermeasures into place to control dust. They add calcium chloride to the road surface on Forest Avenue and by using a water truck in extreme weather conditions.
“It has not been a problem on Forest Avenue in the past and we don’t expect it to be a problem at this site,” said Oviatt.
As for traffic, Oviatt argued there are already gravel pit operators on Forest Avenue. Regardless of the changes, there will still be the same number of trucks, they will only be entering at a new location.
“If we were forced to haul from the sand hill for our in town and Cable Car work, the increase in traffic over the Haisla Bridge would be huge,” said Oviatt.
He expressed their only alternate would be to buy gravel from the new owners of the sand hill. With the KMP and the Shell site, the cost from this pit has increased to the point where they would need a more cost effective alternate source. The proposed location would offer a cost savings to projects in Kitimat and would improve costs for the residents of Cable Car.
They have looked at alternate locations and have found that these would increase haul distances and increase traffic past the entrance to Cable Car. Other locations on Forest Avenue have problems as well.
“As you know or may not know, the present access to our gravel pit on Forest Avenue is currently by surveyed illegal access across District of Kitimat Lands but two alternate, private owners. If any of those lands happen to change hands, access could be denied,” said Oviatt.
When pressed by Council, he went into detail saying a part of the road is on Wayne Webber’s property, District land and land own by Rio Tinto. They have to illegally cross three properties to get to their quarry. To compound problems, the road is surveyed and also not legal.
He expressed this pit will not be visible from the highway. The first phase would be hidden by a cut grade along the highway. The closest location would be the northern point of the proposal.
Oviatt also went over the advantage, upgraded access to Hirsch Creek, cheaper material, lower material cost for District of Kitimat civil works projects, less traffic on the Haisla Bridge, cheaper material for the dump and the creation of 4 full time summer jobs.
He expressed they were never contacted by the people circulating the petition in Cable Car, so they do not know what the additional concerns were. They were approached by the people who operate the shooting range who are not against the proposal but were concerned about workers in the northern most proposed area.
“In order to accommodate the rifle range and some of the concerns of our proximity to Cable Car, we are prepared to reduce the application area to the North as shown on the map,” said Oviatt.
“I hoped that the Cable Car residents would have contacted me as did the people from the rifle range. We’re not unreasonable people. However, I did notice that the presenter for the Cable Car residents owns the gravel pit source on Forest Avenue. This could be construed as a conflict of interest,” said Oviatt.
Councillor Larry Walker asked if Oviatt had a policy of sweeping and tarping their loads. Oviatt replied that all loads are required to be tarped by highway regulations and they have sweepers if there was a problem on the highway.
Councillor Mario Feldhoff asked Oviatt how many years he expects to get out of phase one. The reply was 10 to 15 years. He expressed it looks like a lot because the consultant fit the application into the remainders of two District lots.
Councillor Edwin Empinado asked where the entrance was going to be, but Oviatt replied that they haven’t had their meeting with the highways department yet. They will dictate where the entrance will be, based on rules and regulations. He is assuming it will be near the rifle range road, but it will depend on the Department of Highways.
The second presenter was John Pozsgay who read the petition which was passed around Cable Car and signed by 131 residents in opposition of the borrow pit and rock quarry. The list of concerns included traffic, noise, dust and many other related concerns.
“There are 182 homes at the Cable Car. We’ve got 131 signatures from 103 individual homes,” said Pozsgay, explaining why they did not get signatures. “The comment that was made to us was: ‘Why there? Can’t they get a gravel and rock pit somewhere else?”
Pozsgay explained that the speed limit on the highway was 100 from Cable Car to the Beaver Pond and it needs to be knocked down to 80. He explained he has almost been in an accident several times turning into the dump or coming from Cable Car.
He expressed people from Kitimat should be concerned because of the amount of traffic on the highway and it would be good to get some turning lanes on the highway, such as at the City Dump.
One of the concerns which Pozsgay addressed was: “Extra traffic, and slow moving fully loaded dump trucks and / or trailers turning onto the highway with a posted speed limit of 100 kilometres per hour as well as extra traffic turning off of said highway.”
Tim Algor, a Cable Car resident from Chinook Street, also got up to speak on the topic of the Borrow Pit. “If you Google Earth the property, my property, there is no other Cable Car resident, there might be two, closer to the dump than I am. I can sit in my hot tub, and occasionally, very rarely, do I hear Andy Towse Dump Truck with the tailgate slamming,” said Algor. He expressed he would have to listen for it.
He was not concerned about noise as it was a non-issue, and neither was traffic.
“As far as the traffic goes, our little town is growing, people. You have to build houses, you have to get cars on the road, and yes, there is a risk every day you get in your car, because there are cars on the road,” said Algor.
He hoped someone would go in and clean up all the widow makers which were hanging there. He said they are dangerous to recreational people who are using the road to get to the jumping bridge.
“I don’t think this pit is going to affect anybody,” said Algor. He added that Daudet Creek would keep the roads clean of excess gravel.
Jason Vines from the Kitimat Fire Mountain Shooting Society provided comment as well. He explained after reviewing the plan, they would challenge the statement about the current state of the land. The plan states the adjacent lots are undeveloped. However, they consider the shooting range to be developed.
“The society has no objections to the proposed mining operations. The society asks Council to request and receive reports which describes whether operations of the proposed developments can carry out proposed activities in proximity to the community recreation zone,” said Vines.
Lucy Beattie got up to express concerns as well. She expressed she meant no offence to Oviatt, but she was opposed to the site.
“I travel the highway every day to go to work. The visibility on that stretch of road is terrible. There are many blind spots and, if trucks and other equipment will be going in and out, it will have disastrous effects and I have seen major accidents driving it every day,” said Beattie .
She asked how Oviatt could enforce not having gravel fall on the stretch of highway. She added that in the winter, the highway is not cleared and it would not be safe.
She added there are natural springs in the area he wishes to put the gravel pit and water does seep through. She asked how the pit would affect the springs, whether it would lead to more land slides, floods or debris on the road.
Beattie told Council that people use the back roads for recreation and wanted to know if access to these roads were going to be cut off. She wanted to know if there was going to be any blasting.
“When I moved [into Cable Car], they said to me ‘it was a quiet life style place.’ Residents up there, they raise their horses. It’s quiet. You put a quarry and a pit, it will devalue our homes and it will disrupt our quiet neighbourhood,” said Beattie.
Pozsgay got up to address Council representing his business. He expressed he owns a borrow pit. He said he is against what Oviatt told Council. He explained there would be blasting. Eventually, this would leak into the beaver pond.
Pozsgay admitted he and all the other contractors in town are at fault for not tarping their loads, none of the trucks are properly tarped because the law is not enforced in regards to them.
The final presenter was Algor who stated he reports any un-tarped vehicles on the highway. He figured the government will keep an eye on the pits.
Later in the meeting, after a long pause, Councillor Larry Walker made a motion to forward the information, pro and con, which has been gathered by the Kitimat Council to the Provincial Government and suggested doing an environmental impact study.
Feldhoff said in the end, they will have the final say. He suggested recommending the site be limited to phase one and the safety aspects of the traffic.
Goffinet wanted to get information from the APC. However, they will not be meeting until the 24th and the Province required the information by the 20th. The District could seek an extension but they have already drawn this out once.
The motion was called and carried.
Comment by Pinnwheel on 13th December 2015
The Borrow Pit, Your quote " that will not impact Cable Car residents" Unless you are from cable car your opinion Really means SQWAT....
But thanks for your 2 cents, and KEEP the change....
Put the Pit behind your place.....
I'm so sorry that I have an opinion on this...maybe people that disagree with what go's on in Kitimat should consult with you first.
Comment by Rory Brown on 23rd November 2015
Why is it when ever someone wants to do something in Kitimat they are forced to jump through hoops. It doesn't matter what it is. Timmies had problems getting their sign, The new business that is building in service center almost walked away and went to Terrace, and everyone has more of these stories. Now the Oviatts want a gravel pit, that will not impact Cable Car residents. Rather than contacting them, a petition is started with no proper information.
The only real concern I see is access from the highway. Anyone who has lived in Kitimat for a reasonable amount of time knows the Oviatts do things with care and concern of others. If there is going to be highway access, I feel confident Jack and Shawn will do it so we are all safe, as they have showen in the past.