Yes, this is another gravel pit letter. I am writing to express my profound disappointment with our Rock View County (RVC) councillors and administration. Lehigh Hanson has applied for rezoning and development permits to construct a 600-acre open pit gravel mine on Burma Road in the heart of the most densely populated residential area in the county. One in 10 RVC residents and 70 per cent of Bearspaw residents live within five kilometres of this proposed open-pit mine, including residents of Church Ranches, Crestview Estates, Silverwoods, Woodland Estates and Harvey Hills. Several other communities in northwest Calgary would also be impacted.
Residents in the area are understandably upset with the prospect of significant noise levels, deadly carcinogenic dust, air quality issues, environmental destruction and property value declines. Given that this mine, if approved, will operate for 25 to 30 years, it is an issue that deserves careful and thorough consideration and review.
So what’s the rush? Council gave this application first reading Oct. 6. Then, a public hearing for the application was scheduled for RVC council's Dec. 22 meeting, with written submissions required by Dec. 9. That leaves concerned residents barely two weeks to review and research the roughly 1,500 pages of material submitted by Lehigh Hanson, and to prepare their written responses to the application. Some of us have written to the County requesting the public hearing be delayed for a few months but our entreaties have been ignored.
This whole process reeks of procedural unfairness. Not only are we being denied a fair period of time to review the material, but the public hearing has been scheduled three days before Christmas, at a time when we are solidly in the middle of the second wave of COVID-19, with all of the attendant restrictions and risks that entails. We believe many people will be afraid to appear to voice their concerns given admonishments for social gatherings delivered by Premier Jason Kenney and Alberta's chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw on a daily basis. This lack of concern for meaningful public consultation indicates a total disrespect for residents by council and administration.
So council – how about it? We urge you to adjourn or reschedule the public hearing on this matter to ensure your ratepayers have an opportunity to weigh in on the most significant issue you will consider this decade.