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RVC approves McNair gravel pit near Beiseker

At its latest meeting, Rocky View County (RVC) council unanimously approved the development of a new gravel pit that will expand an operation that has been in service for nearly 50 years.
Gravel pile_FILE_WEB

At its latest meeting, Rocky View County (RVC) council unanimously approved the development of a new gravel pit that will expand an operation that has been in service for nearly 50 years. 

McNair Sand and Gravel, a locally owned company with a pit already in operation near Beiseker, sought County approval for its new Olsen Pit, which will be located at the northwest junction of Township Road 280 and Range Road 264. 

Monty McNair, from McNair Sand and Gravel, described the Olsen Pit as “more or less an extension” of a pre-existing McNair pit that’s only 900 metres away. 

According to McNair, the company is hoping to extract nearly 500,000 tons of gravel from the proposed pit site.

“Gravel in the area is becoming scarce,” claimed McNair, who added that the current gravel pit is practically depleted, leaving mostly sand. 

A report to council about the proposed pit states that extraction is expected to start up in April each year, and continue until “the expected tonnage of gravel for the season has been stockpiled.”

The report also mentions that the Olsen Pit extraction and crushing will typically conclude after one or two months, with activities after that time being limited to stockpile maintenance and the loading of trucks. Extraction operations are expected to be completed over a period of approximately 10 years.

To help with land reclamation once gravel has been extracted, McNair mentioned that the company plans to extract 11 acres at a time. Once gravel has been extracted from the 11 acres, the land will be reclaimed and extraction efforts will move to the next 11 acres. 

As a part of community outreach efforts, McNair stated that the company hosted an information session in Beiseker that was attended by only three local residents: McNair, his wife, and a neighbour. McNair also mentioned that his was the closest residential property to the pre-existing and proposed pit extension. 

According to County administration, information regarding the proposed pit was circulated to 27 adjacent landowners, with the County receiving no responses in support or opposition.

“This proposed aggregate development is located on a well established area of gravel extraction which has occurred for over 50 years,” McNair said to council. 

In its application, McNair Sand and Gravel requested that the setback, or distance a gravel pit has to be from the property line, be set at zero. Approval for a no setback distance would allow McNair to extract gravel right up until the property line along roads near the pit. 

Administration representatives said they saw no reason to not allow McNair Sand and Gravel to operate without a setback distance. When asked by council if the company would construct berms to act as natural barriers between the gravel pit and adjacent county land, McNair said they would not. 

“This operator has been in the community for a long time with no issues or problems,” said Division 5 Coun. Greg Boehlke, who represents the affected area on council.

“I support this,” he added. 

Division 4 Coun. Sammantha Wright also voiced her approval of the proposed gravel pit, stating that she is often accused of being anti-gravel, but is, “anything but.” 

“This is a good application in a perfect place,” Wright said.

Boehlke and Wright were joined by the rest of council in unanimously approving the new McNair gravel pit. 


Riley Stovka

About the Author: Riley Stovka

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