'We will be as generous as we can'
Gravel company pledges to be good corporate partner and sponsor in Barrhead
A company planning a $12 million gravel operation has pledged to become a good corporate partner and sponsor in Barrhead.
Fort McMurray-based Stony Valley Contracting Ltd. says it will support the area financially and encourage employees to play a positive role in the community.
“We will be as generous as we can,” said general manager Dan Fouts last Thursday.
Meanwhile, the company has been assessing feedback from several open house meetings into the Stony Valley Project, which was launched after the discovery of a huge gravel deposit at a 640-acre site about 30 miles from downtown Barrhead.
Stony Valley had identified a potential haul route from the proposed development site through the Connor Creek Grazing Reserve to provincial Highway 18.
A former route proposal linking the development site to Highway 18 and Highway 43 was also up for discussion at last month’s meetings.
The company now hopes to adjust the potential haul route to meet concerns raised by those living nearby. These mainly relate to traffic and noise.
Fouts said a proposal had already been put to Alberta Sustainable Resource Development, a government body overseeing the stewardship of the province’s lands, forests, fish and wildlife. The company is awaiting a response.
“Our object is to find the path of least impact or disturbance,” he said.
Several people living on an escarpment within two miles of the development site are also worried about possible noise from operations.
Options are now being considered to mitigate effects of crushing work, including stockpiling gravel around the pit to deflect and reduce noise.
Fouts said computer models would be created to assess environmental impacts.
“We plan to meet people living on the escarpment to see how we can best address their concerns,” he added.
Stony Valley has two regulatory hurdles to cross before it can start operations at the Crown Lands site in TWP61-R7-W5M: a development approval from the Alberta Sustainable Resource Development and a development permit from Barrhead County.
If everything goes according to the company’s plans, it could have both approvals by April or May 2013. Road building and upgrades costing $7m-$9m and pit development would then take place.
Fouts says the project could deliver 2,700-3,000 tonnes of gravel to markets in Barrhead County, Lac Ste. Anne and Edmonton.
Last month the company held open house and town hall meetings at the Mystery Lake Community Hall. Another meeting was slated for Monday, July 9 at the Cherhill Community Hall. A further open house is planned for October, probably at Mystery Lake.
“I thought the meetings went reasonably well,” said Fouts last Thursday. “ People were respectful and some very good suggestions were made.”
“I am extremely cognizant about and sensitive to all the concerns and am looking at ways to address them.”
The Stony Valley Project was discussed at last Tuesday’s Barrhead County Council meeting.
Barrhead’s acting Reeve Doug Drozd said he hoped Stony Valley Contracting would be a good corporate partner, citizen and sponsor.
He raised the possibility of the company becoming involved in such projects as the proposed new aquatic centre.
“I hope they will be generous,” he added.
Councillors doubted whether Barrhead would receive many project spin-offs, but hoped local businesses would try to exploit opportunities, however minimal.
Some councillors, including Darrell Troock and Bill Lane, foresaw truck drivers using local fuel. The Neerlandia Co-op could also stand to benefit, they said.
Councillor Lawrence Miller could not see Barrhead reaping many economic benefitis, even though the company plans to hire 25 local employees at the site and 25 truck drivers, who will be making three trips a day.
Councillor Marvin Brade, who attended one of the June 26 meetings, believed the company would be seeking the lowest tender on any bids and he could foresee a “minimum wage” approach.
He foresaw Stony Valley asking the county to contribute towards infrastructure projects, since roads built for the project will apparently be open to the public.
County Manager Mark Oberg said the council had not received any permit application from the company.
“They are still in public discussions,” he said.
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