The gravel pit is planned for just outside Union Bay. Photo, JET Productions

The gravel pit is planned for just outside Union Bay. Photo, JET Productions

Gravel pit in the plans for Union Bay

Public comment period for the application ends June 18

A gravel pit is being considered now for the Union Bay area

A Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation spokesperson confirmed the ministry has a Mines Act permit application.

“This is the Union Bay development,” the spokesperson told the Record. “The notice of work submitted is to support the development of residential end land use.”

The proposed operation would run for no longer than 10 years. A copy of the notice of work application shows the applicant as a numbered company, but the contact person listed is Brian McMahon from the Union Bay Estates development. The Record contacted him by email about the location and any updated plans for UBE’s overall vision for its property but has not heard back.

The application notes the site, which is on private land, as approximately 13.5 km south of Courtenay along Highway 19A, then west on McLeod Road for about 400 metres to an access road to the north side. The maximum annual tonnage to be extracted is 49,000 tonnes.

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It notes that most of the area has been logged, with organics and till to be stripped and stockpiled. Mining would take place from the south side of the pit, with highway dump trucks loaded by a front-end loader or excavator. Crushing or screening could be required for some specialized products. The proposal is for it to be a year-round operation with planned hours of work from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday to Friday, as required.

As far as any protected archaeological sites, the application indicates none are known and that First Nations in the community have been contacted.

The document also sets out reclamation activities, with the sloping from the top to the bottom of the pit allowing for re-vegetation. Swales are to be installed across the slope to handle runoff.

“As the upper areas are sloped the stockpiled reclamation material will be spread on the surface and an appropriate seed fertilizer mixture will be applied,” the application states.

The province has referred the proposal to the Comox Valley Regional District.

“The CVRD responded back that because the proposal involves land alterations in the vicinity of steep slopes, a development permit is required. That application is to be submitted with a geotechnical report,” manager of planning services Ton Trieu said.

He also said the zoning bylaw and master development agreement between the CVRD and the property owners do make provisions for gravel. The zoning bylaw, within the “Kensington” or UBE area, permits it on a temporary basis for on-site development only and requires site remediation. The master agreement also limits sand, gravel or aggregate extraction only for the use of the development at Union Bay.

The consultation stage for the notice of work application runs until June 16, while the public comment period ends on June 18. The ministry also states if a permit is granted, the start of the 10-year time frame will be adjusted from the time it is granted.

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