New bylaw will limit soil and gravel removal

By David F. Rooney

Municipal staff are fine-tuning a new bylaw that will limit anyone’s ability to remove soil — defined as “topsoil, sand, gravel, rock, silt, play, peat or any other substance of which  land is composed.”

Permits for the mining and removal of soil will cost $300 along with a “soil-removal fee of $.50/cubic metre.” Florists, growers, horticulturalists and plant nurseries” are along the 17 permit exemptions listed in the proposed bylaw. So are market gardens and community gardens. So is the golf course, highway work and building construction sites.

Those certainly won’t provoke any controversy but one of the exemptions could affect gravel-mining operations within city boundaries.

As currently written, the bylaw exempts gravel removal and transportation when it “is required as part of a concrete and asphalt plant operation where such use is permitted under City of Revelstoke Zoning Bylaw No. 1264, and where a valid business licence for that use exists.”

City Planning Director John Guenther said that exemption may be poorly written as it is supposed to exempt only those gravel mining operations where the gravel is being processed on site. As written it appears to exempt any and all gravel mines.That’s certainly the impression anti-gravel pit activist Stuart Andrews had when he read the proposed bylaw.

“As written it will do nothing to curb gravel mining in our city,” he said.

And, as Mayor David Raven noted when the issue came to Council last week, it certainly “won’t impact gravel pits outside City limits.”

The proposed bylaw will, once it is completed to Council’s satisfaction, be released to the public for review and comment.