By MEL ROTHENBURGER/
NEWS — The Westsyde Road gravel pit proposal that outraged neighbours last fall has its permit but probably won’t go ahead this year, says the owner.
Bruce Bried of Kamloops Sand and Gravel told The Armchair Mayor News he has “no plans as of today” for the pit at 7461 Westyde Road near Jamieson Creek.
Residents along Westsyde Road teamed up against the pit when it was in the proposal stage, saying it would increase dust, noise and traffic and that it would add 50 to 70 trucks a day on the road.
They packed a meeting in September that was supposed to provide information about the plan but turned into little short of a protest rally as neighbours expressed their discontent.
“I’m too busy doing other things,” Bried said Friday, explaining that while his permit was approved last November he hasn’t had a chance to focus on putting the seven-hectare pit into operation.
“I haven’t even thought about it.”
The pit, part of a 28-hectare property, would be excavated to a depth of 25 metres.
Bried said the public meeting last fall delayed the approval process as the Agricultural Land Commission took a second look at the project but there’s now nothing preventing start-up.
If he does begin production his company would have to provide two weeks’ notice to the Ministry of Transportation and the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Resources.
He would first have to construct access onto the property from Westsyde Road but isn’t certain if he’ll do even that this year. “That’s a big question. I haven’t decided that yet.”
Bried, a Vancouver mining engineer, has no plans to call another public meeting before the pit goes into operation.
The initial application was made under the name Jamieson Creek Gravel, which was protested by nearby Jamieson Creek Sand and Gravel as being confusing.
Mines inspector Tom Charles told The Armchair Mayor News that Bried is free to start excavating gravel any time, although “he’s not doing anything right now.”
Under the permit, Bried and his partners can excavate 617,000 cubic meters of gravel from the property over a five-year period — “I don’t think he’s going to do do anywhere near that.”
Jen Schrauwen, who operates Jamieson Creek Sand and Gravel with her husband Ted, said the matter has been quiet over the winter and neighbours are generally unaware of any immediate plans for the pit.
The Schrauwens asked the Agricultural Land Commission to review its decision approving the use of the property for the pit but the ALR re-affirmed its original decision allowing non-farm use.
“We don’t need more (gravel pits) in this area,” she said Friday.
Another neighbour, Ann McLellan, who has a small horse ranch with husband Bob next door to Bried’s property, also said there’s been no communication from the mines ministry about the project over the past several months.
“We haven’t heard anything.”
The good news for those who oppose the gravel pit is that another nearby pit operated by Westsyde Road Materials will be shut tight within a couple of years.
Owner Don Blair said processing has been stopped at the pit, the biggest in the area, although it’s still used for stockpiling and removal of gravel to the company’s new centre of operations at Metro Reload on the Tk’emlups Indian Reserve.
He said the Westsyde site has just received a five-year renewal for its permit but “A couple more years and it’ll be done.”
He said reclamation work is well underway with tree planting, and top soil is on site to cover the extraction area as operations wind down.
“There’ll be a nice a nice hay field there when it’s over,” said Blair, whose family has operated the pit for 30 years.