Residents of central Okanagan and Irrigation District oppose proposed rock quarry off Highway 33 – Vernon Morning Star

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Joe Rich’s proposed rock quarry is worrying residents and the Black Mountain Irrigation District (BMID).

Westridge Rock Ventures Ltd. proposed that a sand, gravel and aggregate rock quarry be established just off Highway 33. The company indicated that some of the advantages of the location are closer to the market, with traffic reduced because Joe Rich is rural, which means less wear and tear on the roads and reduced greenhouse gases and fuel consumption.

Westridge also said the proposed location is not in an environmentally sensitive area.

Despite this, the community is still worried and some are hoping that the career proposal will not be approved.

Local resident Shawn Blennerhassett said the site of the new quarry borders his property, and he and his wife fear an industrial mining operation is too close to them and their neighbors.

“I had never heard of the app before. A neighbor just informed us out of the blue that this was happening, ”he said.

“It’s a small community of residential and rural acreage, and it’s not really the right place for a commercial quarrying operation. “

Blennerhassett cited some of the reasons he and other residents are concerned, including traffic, noise, the potential results of rock crushing and blasting, the effect a quarry could have on local wells, as well. that disturbance of local wildlife.

BMID administrator Bob Hrasko said that although the proposed quarry is not in an environmentally sensitive area, it sits right above a 130-meter silt cliff that could easily become unstable.

“We provide water to approximately 5,000 acres of farmland in the East Banks of Kelowna and we also provide domestic water to approximately 28,000 people,” Hrasko said.

“The issues we have with the quarry over there are the vibrations from the blasting and all the activity that will happen over the freeway… the slope of the silt cliff has always been sagging and unstable.

“The concern is that the silt cliffs could fail and completely block Mission Creek.”

The Central Okanagan Regional District (RDCO) is one of the referral organizations for Westridge’s application, but the final decision rests with the British Columbia Ministry of Mines. This means that even if the RDCO supports the request – or not – the province will have the final say.

Now residents are holding information sessions and contacting the province and Westridge to relocate the site.

“I have nothing against mining and whether the gravel is desperately needed or not, it doesn’t matter. But there are many, many other places, better places, to have this career, ”said Blennerhassett.

Hrasko echoed his feelings.

“Anything that will contribute to a slope failure and damage Mission Creek is a bad idea. Westridge is a reputable company and we buy gravel from them for our operations, but we would like this site not to be approved, ”he said.

“We would like to see a pit, but maybe elsewhere. “

Black Press Media has contacted the Ministry of Mines for comment.


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