Letter of objection to YCS Holdings’ Jordan River Gravel Pit file #4405327

Editor’s Note:
This is Stuart Andrews’ letter of objection to the latest gravel pit. He sent it to the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources on March 6 —

This letter is objecting to another gravel pit being located up wind of the city of Revelstoke. This will be the seventh gravel pit in view and close proximity to my home and up wind from the Columbia park sub division of Revelstoke. The prevailing winds come down the Jordan valley, west to East and then go south where they meet up with the winds coming north to south down the Columbia valley. Which means that we will be exposed to a higher concentration of Crystalline Silica dust a class 1 carcinogen? The same people who signed the petition in 2010 against Interoute’s gravel pit on the Westside road are against this gravel pit. YCS holdings parent company is Interoute. FYI the distance from this gravel pit to the city limits is about 1000 meters. We do not need more noise and dust, as they say they will be operating this pit 6 days a week.

Information from OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration):-

Once airborne, fine crystalline silica may stay aloft for three to four days and travel ten to fifteen miles downwind.

Background of YCS holdings :-

YCS holdings Ltd. Are a Prince George company owned by Interoute and are located 750 kms from Revelstoke. It stands to reason that YCS holdings do not intend to haul gravel from Revelstoke to Prince George a distance of 750 kms. This company YCS holdings applied for a gravel pit and received approval only last year for a gravel pit  just above the Revelstoke dam close to the boat launch on the West side road. They are a division of Interoute whose parent company is Terus. This company (Interoute) whom you allowed to expand the Westside road gravel pit to 47 acres in 2010 only 300 meters in front of our homes which has caused much controversy, operating under the guise of Valley Blacktop is operating a corporate shell game to mislead the public. There can be no other reason why Interoute are using one of their many companies in such a devious way. After all the trouble Interoute caused with their Westside pit they are now applying for and getting approval for gravel pits in Revelstoke by using one of their many companies. It is a scam and shear greed by Interoute to monopolize the gravel pits in and around Revelstoke. They have no concern for the environment or public health, as not a single person involved with the running of Valley Blacktop, YCS, Interoute, Terus or any of their many companies reside in the Revelstoke area.

This proposed gravel pit is only a few meters away from Interoute’s other gravel pit on the Jordan River road. This you can see on the Ariel photograph in their application.

This pit is the one they said was no good for sand and gravel at a public meeting, which is the reason they gave so they could expand the Westside road gravel pit right in front of our homes. Yet they want to get another gravel pit right by the side of the one they said was no good for sand and gravel in 2010

The truth is the pit in front of our homes is closer to their asphalt and concrete plant and saves them a 3 km. drive. The truth is a stranger to this company as they have no moral ethics and operate deceitfully with the assistance and help of the MFLNRO, MEMNG and the City of Revelstoke planning department and our Mayor, who even stated in a council meeting that sand and gravel is like gold and that by denying Interoute the expansion of the Westside road gravel pit would be the same as asking them to leave town as Interoute would have to truck sand and gravel to Revelstoke from Sicamouse a round trip of 140 kms.??? (What a load of BS) It now appears that they could have used their existing pit on the Jordan river road why else would they be applying for a gravel pit right by the side of their existing pit if it was no good, it is only 100 meters from another successfully operated gravel pit on the Jordan river road. (View on Google earth)

They say they will clear the 13 acres and mine the gravel in 3 phases, they said that they would do the Westside road gravel pit in 5 phases. This theydid NOT do they cleared all the trees and top soil 7 months prior to obtaining a mine permit. Which despite my many attempts trying to find out why this illegal activity was allowed to take place has yet to be answered?

One of their Mine permit regulations for their Westside road pit stipulated that they must perform silica dust monitoring, this they only did for the first winter when it was covered in snow and they were not operating the pit they have not done any silica dust sampling in 2 years!!! They have lost all credibility and are not in compliance with their Westside gravel pit and yet you still grant them more gravel pits.

This gravel pit that Interoute are applying for under the pretense of YCS holdings is only meters from Interoutes other gravel pit on the Jordan River road which I can see from my house. So it will mean more noise and Silica dust which is a class 1 carcinogenic. As you are fully aware that they first obtain a mine permit for a small gravel pit and then it is a very simple process to have it extended, by doing this they never have to get an environmental approval and it is all done with your blessing.

They say that they will mine the 13 acres in three phases. They said that they would do their Westside road gravel pit 47 acres extension in 5 phases they did not do this they cleared the trees and striped the top soil for the entire area in March 2010. 7 months prior to getting their mine permit which is in direct contravention of the mines act. Which states that they are not allowed to remove trees or disturb soil until they get mining approval?

I have not devoted too much time to this letter of objection as I know only too well from my own experience in fighting against Interoute’s Westside road gravel pit that you gave approval to in 2010 only 300 meters from our homes in Revelstoke, that the public’s opposition against gravel pits are merely an exercise to appease the  public and serves no other purpose, if this was not the case, the FVRD Aggregate Pilot Project (APP) that was initiated by the Minister of State for Mines in 2004 in response to persistent and intense conflicts surrounding aggregate operations in the Fraser Valley Regional District would not have taken 10 years, and accomplished nothing other than to waste time whilst new gravel pits are receiving approval from the Ministry of Mines. The City of Peachland, and the City of Whistler’s objections and subsequent court cases and the Fraser Valley Regional District Citizens Association fight to stop gravel pits as close as 50 meters from private residences; attempts have not been successful in stopping gravel pits. (The Fraser Valley Regional District Citizens Association is a group that helps communities organizes a more coordinated response to gravel mining applications.) It is an exercise in futility objecting to gravel pits as giving approval to gravel pits is a foregone conclusion.           I have yet to hear of one gravel pit application denied or concerns even listened to that have been raised by the public to the MFLNRO and MEMNG when it comes to approving gravel pits close to residential areas. The City of Revelstoke is the only City in B.C. that has given approval and support for a gravel pit, and this was done by the City’s planning department in 2008 without consulting the City’s council or public? The way the City of Revelstoke gave approval and support to Interoute’s Westside road gravel pit was by shameful deceit and was intended to keep it from the public until it was too late. I have requested many freedom of information documents concerning your approval of Interoute’s Westside road gravel pit close to our homes and have at last after 2 ½ years of being stalled received the last of my FOI requests, a file that large it had to be sent to me on a CD disc, which shows the process of approving gravel pits and is less than transparent, and inspections are inadequate to enforce compliance.

We can only hope that outcome in the upcoming provincial elections will change how gravel pits are foisted on the taxpayers of this province.

Stuart Andrews

Revelstoke, BC

Background Ex :-

B.C. gravel industry pulls out of FVRD gravel removal plan

But FVRD officials and Abbotsford/Mission MLA Randy Hawes believe they can still salvage the tripartite agreement that was 10 years in the making

B.C. gravel industry pulls out of FVRD gravel removal plan

A regional gravel removal plan may be on its last legs after the BC Stone, Sand & Gravel Association pulled out of a proposed pilot program at the Fraser Valley Regional District.

But FVRD officials and Abbotsford/Mission MLA Randy Hawes believe they can still salvage the tripartite agreement that was 10 years in the making. Paul Allard, the gravel association’s executive director, confirmed Wednesday that “due to lack of progress” in implementing the plan, the association has formally withdrawn from the Fraser Valley Aggregate pilot Project (APP).

“We thought the plan was a pretty simple solution,” he said, to the gravel industry’s need for a stable supply of gravel, the concerns of homeowners who feared the opening of gravel pits in their backyards and the legal quagmire facing the FVRD in court.

The APP designated areas where gravel mining would be permitted, where it would not be permitted, and where it might be permitted under certain conditions.

Currently, gravel operations can open up a quarry anywhere, as long as they have the approval of the B.C. mines inspector. Allard said the APP “has grown into a monster” instead, and he doesn’t see any way the plan can be resurrected, “not at this point.” But MLA Randy Hawes said the “delay lies with the government” and “I am working to get this back on track, and I believe it can happen.” Yale area director Dennis Adamson, a vocal critic of the APP, agreed the plan is not dead – but he wished it was. “I hope it does die, but I fear removal of the gravel industry (from the APP) isn’t going to end it,” he said. FVRD chair Sharon Gaetz said the fate of the APP is now in the hands of the B.C. government, but she also believes the project will continue. “We are not throwing up our hands and walking away,” she said, just because the industry has withdrawn from the process.

Officials at the Forests, Mines and Lands ministry were not available to comment on the status of the APP.