Our Position on Gravel

Rocky View Gravel Watch is frequently accused of being anti-gravel.  This is simply not true.  We fully recognize and acknowledge the important role gravel plays in our society. 

 

We also fully recognize that gravel extraction has significant costs and impacts.  Our position has always been that gravel pits must be responsibly located, and that gravel must be responsibly extracted.

 

What does “responsibly” mean?

Gravel is a plentiful resource in Rocky View.  Because of this, every gravel deposit in the County does not need to be exploited to meet the region’s need for gravel.  As a result, it is essential for the County to use responsible land use policy in determining acceptable locations for new gravel pits.  Such policy should direct that:

  • Gravel extraction must not negatively impact nearby landowners/residents and/or the environment.

    • Negative impacts include noise, traffic, dust, disturbances to wildlife or aquifers, etc.

  • Gravel pits must be located in areas that will make it easier for gravel companies to effectively minimize the unavoidable negative impacts from their operations. 

    • Setbacks and/or gravel companies compensating potentially impacted landowners are ways in which the unavoidable impacts can be minimized.

  • Heavy industry must not be located adjacent to residential areas. 

    • Open pit gravel mines are unquestionably heavy industry.

  • There should always be a gradual transition between any heavy industrial and residential development, with commercial, light industrial or agricultural activities located as a meaningful buffer or transition zone between the incompatible residential and heavy industrial land uses.

  • Assessments of the impact from gravel operations must effectively take into consideration the cumulative impacts whenever multiple gravel pits may be located in the same area.

  • All gravel pits must have direct access to provincial highways that are adequately designed for the volume of traffic generated by gravel extraction operations.

 

The County’s role is to adjudicate between and balance the competing demands of the industrial gravel operation and the residents and landowners upon whom the industrial operation will impose significant burdens.  In doing so, the County must ensure that its decisions reflect responsible land use policy and practices.

 

In today’s economy, there is no question that we need aggregate extraction, in the same way that we need garbage dumps and waste disposal sites.  However, just because a land use is necessary does not mean that responsible land use policy should be ignored.  The fact that a location may minimize a gravel company’s operating costs should never be a reason to avoid responsible land use decisions.  This is especially true in situations where those locations are in or near existing residential communities.