This reader refuses to roll over for the Westside gravel mine

Hi David,

I thank you very, very much for your articles and photos regarding the gravel pit. You’ve done a fine job and your efforts are greatly appreciated.

I haven’t really had an opportunity to discuss the gravel pit with you personally. I have seen a lot of websites, articles and photos on the Internet about people all over this province that are fighting against gravel pits because of gravel pit operators often wanting to locate their operations in the wrong places. It seems they only care about the money they’ll make. There really isn’t a problem if they put them in a sensible location.

I realize, of course, that you and many other people have spent a lot of time researching this subject.

I’ve learned a great deal and so here are just some of my comments:

Locating the gravel pit in the proposed area is a very bad idea.

I am deeply concerned about the health impact of this project.

I don’t like being bullied by government and big business. I will NOT lie down and rollover for them.

One reason that sand & gravel operations should always be located away from populated areas is because there is no adequate effective way of controlling toxic dust and excessive noise.

There is no viable method of fully entrapping and safely disposing of crystalline silica particles and it takes very special equipment to test for crystalline silica particles in the air. You could enclose the operation in a dome and the particles would still get out on vehicles and people coming and going.

Remember, the very large “vertically integrated company” that wants this gravel pit only has to win once, we have to win over and over again every single time they try to shove it down our throats.

There are already several indications that there will be future requests for expansions of the area of the operation and requests for extensions of work hours and years of operation.

Much of what Mr. S. said at the public review was pure b.s. and the people knew it.

Please read this article carefully ( ¬† ). It explains quite a few things including how companies get around triggering an Environmental Assessment Review (EAR). It states that the largest gravel mine in B.C. has never triggered an EAR. It goes on to say that, “BC’s public is deeply concerned when contrary opinions are feared and scientific debates cease

to exist; they’re left to conclude that the resulting default decisions are political.” It further says that, “There is an informal consensus about what happens to the public’s input at those ‘public reviews’. Simply put, the ‘public review’ process is a sham; it does not in any meaningful way change the permitting process.” It also says that, “The provincial government is not legally compelled to do anything with the ‘public’s input’, but it is compelled to hold ‘public reviews. We get it. They’re a political exercise only.”

I have promised my dear wife, Saralene, that I will stand with others and fight this thing however I can. I fully believe it is WRONG to put a gravel pit in the proposed location. We have rights too.

This gravel pit is totally unacceptable for many valid reasons. Among all the other reasons, gravel pit operators ought not to be allowed to drive property values down. No property assessor can truthfully state that this project will NOT drive down the value of nearby properties. If I am forced to sell out and  leave for health reasons, it will take longer to sell my property and I will have to take less for it.

Gravel pit operators and the government agencies that support them are well known to use “deceptive” practices and “bullying” tactics in order to establish and operate gravel & sand pits in areas where the public does not want them. It is happening all the time all over this province.

Revelstokians should be fighting this with everything they’ve got.

Once the gravel pit operators get a foothold, there is no way to stop them and there are NO reasonable enforcement mechanisms in place to assure their compliance with any noise, dust and other environmental requirements. It can easily take years to amply prove and enforce a violation. They get away with what they do much the same as many criminals do in this province.

This project should definitely not go ahead. They should be forced to get the aggregate they want from somewhere else in an undeveloped area.

There is no gravel pit operation in this province or anywhere else that does not emit dust and noise and little is done by most operators to effectively control either one. Furthermore, there is no way to fully contain the microscopic crystalline dust particles that rise into the air from gravel crushing operations and then rise into the air again and again from all areas to which they have been carried by the winds.

In this message I have not mentioned many, many other valid objections to locating this gravel pit in the proposed area.

Thank you David for all that you are doing. I really mean that.

Best regards,

George Hopkins