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Rocky View council accepts Burnco development permit

Rocky View County council approved the Burnco permit for its gravel site northwest of Calgary, but demanded some amendments to address nearby resident complaints.
Three land redesignations were approved by Rocky View County council at its April 24 meeting.

At its most recent meeting on Feb. 27th, Rocky View County (RVC) council approved the continuation of a development permit submitted by the aggregate company Burnco for their Burma Gravel Pit site along Township Road 26 northwest of Calgary. 

The site, which has been in operation since 1997, had a previous development permit approved by RVC in 2021, a permit that will not expire until 2026. According to a representative of Burnco, the company came forward with the application for this development permit because they also wished to build screening berms to mitigate site noise. 

“[We] want to formalize plans for recovery of remaining materials in the southwest portion of the site and support installation of a screening berm,” said Burnco representative Travis Coates. 

Coates told council that the Burma Gravel Pit has a very small ecological footprint, and the operation is something Burnco is very proud of. 

However, the quick approval for the Burma site would not come easily, or without some pushback. 

Robin Himes, who has lived in the area adjacent to the Burma site since 1992, represented the concerns of 18 other residents at the council meeting. Himes said that the noise pollution and dust that gets kicked up from operations at the site have become incredibly difficult to live with. 

“Some of [the County’s] people have visited my home and heard the noise,” said Himes. “Complaints to Burnco have gone nowhere. (So) we made calls, and we brought this to the council's attention.”

Himes made sure to state that she and the other area residents didn’t want the site closed, but instead said the residents hoped the County would work to ensure Burnco would do what it could to make living conditions a little better. 

“We know gravel is important," said Himes. "We’re just asking for a solution, (and) to go back to the days when we didn’t have these problems. Let’s make sure the berms work and residents are happy.” 

The issue of aggregate resource extraction is not a new one to RVC. Recently, the County’s Aggregate Resource Plan advisory committee rejected a draft proposal from their own chair for future aggregate development. Among many things that the committee could not find consensus on was where gravel pits should go. 

One of the primary concerns represented by residential members on the committee is the health and safety risk aggregate extraction poses on residential communities. Himes recalled a time when one side of her house was coated in dust from the nearby Burma pit, and said that Burnco had initially promised to send spray trucks down the road to alleviate the dust, but had failed to consistently follow through on that promise. 

Conditions to amendment added to please all parties

After consulting with Burnco over the council meeting’s lunch break, County administration authored some amendments to the development permit that Burnco was “broadly in alignment with.” 

The conditions of the amendment were that Burnco has to submit a noise mitigation strategy that will, in theory, reduce the noise during the pit's operating hours. 

Another condition was an amendment to the time that Burnco can crush and process the aggregate they collect, from 7:00 am to 6:00 pm instead of 7:00 am to 11:00 pm. The amendment also stated that Burnco had until June 3 to construct the screening berms at the Burma site. 

Division 3 Coun. and Reeve Crystal Kissel said she believed the amendment's conditions would be suitable to all sides of the debate. 

“This allows [Burnco] to get the berm up tomorrow and it gives the residents protection,” said Kissel, who was joined in support by Division 4 Coun. Samanntha Wright. 

“[This] gives [County Enforcement] some teeth in enforcing County policy,” said Wright in reference to the conditions relating to noise mitigation and measurement. 

With just Division 1 Coun. Kevin Hanson absent, the vote on the amendments, and the development permit passed 6-0.

 


Riley Stovka

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