Preserve Vedder Mountain and Environs
- Victor Froese
- Closed on
Thank you for your support. We have closed this petition.
The VedderMPG had its 6th meeting on March 31st at the Yarrow Community Hall. About 35 people attend a postmortem of where we are at, what still needs to be done, and what worked to bring “people power” to the attention of local and provincial politicians and bureaucrats. Glen Thompson of the Friends of the Chilliwack River Valley group presented a “victory” card to the assembly; it said “A small card just would not do for the BIG THANKS going out to you [VedderMPG].” It was signed by the various citizens groups that together have formed the FVRD Citizen’s Associate (FCA) in order to get a provincial-level hearing regarding gravel mining in the province. Together, hopefully, we can make our politicians hear the people that elected them. This is particularly important in this “election year” when we will have not only a federal election but also local civic elections (and possibly even a provincial election). Representatives from both the Cultus Lake Aquatic Stewardship Strategy and the Cultus Lake Community Association were also present.
VedderMPG decided to continue pressing the Environmental Assessment Office for the mandatory environmental assessment documented in the KPH quarry application (2003-2013). We also plan to find out from the City of Chilliwack why the Soil Removal and Deposit Bylaw is not being enforced; why we were told in our FOI application that “We would advise that we no longer have in our records Schedule “B” to Soil Removal Bylaw 1989, No. 1313” – this just happens to be the Soil Substance Removal or Deposit Permit for Kirkness for the year 2008; why the annual audit done by Robert Simpson was only for January to May 2008 (52,782 cubic meters); and why the extraction records show that in December 2008 a further 183,682 cubic meters were removed (all this adds up to double his permit amount). We will also continue monitoring applications for gravel extraction permits, especially by Kirkness Pacific Holdings/Western Explosives, and other development on Vedder Mountain.
In the coming months we will provide ecological, recreational and environmental information about the north side of Vedder Mountain, located between Vedder Crossing, BC and Yarrow, BC and which can be seen when driving Vedder Mountain Road, one of the key routes to the very popular Cultus Lake recreational area.
On March 24, 2010 Kirkness Pacific Holdings Ltd (KPH) posted a development application sign on its property at Parmenter Road. The company sought to extend the quarry’s period of operation to December 31, 2018 (original permit September 1, 2003 to September 1, 2013) and build a conveyor down the north slope of Vedder Mountain across Crown Land to two lots on Vedder Mountain Road owned by Kirkness. There KPH proposed to blast and excavate approximately 9 acres (3.7 hectares) for a conveyor-stockpile-loadout area.
On September 9, 2010 Walter Raupach invited a group of residents to meet at the Yarrow Community Hall and informed them of the proposed development; he outlined the process of approvals necessary to the development and explained that the application was still at a very early stage. Although KPH had applied to the Ministry of Energy & Mines on December 14, 2009 for an amendment to a gravel mining permit which included the construction of a conveyor down the north slope of Vedder Mountain, they were told that before MEM would consider the application they required permission from the Integrated Land Management Bureau to cross Crown Land.
At the time of the meeting this is where the application sat. Finally, if the other permits were granted, the proponent still needed to apply to the City of Chilliwack to rezone his lots from Limited Reserve Zone with a geologically sensitive area (RSV1gsa) designation to Industrial (M6) in order to build the stockpile-loadout area. The approximately 50 residents who attended the first meeting were first stunned that anyone would propose such an unsuitable project for an area of historic instability; the fact that slides have previously destroyed property on the north face of Vedder Mountain was well known, especially to long-time residents. Then they were outraged that the negative effects that such development would have on traffic, people, property values, local businesses, groundwater/run off, agriculture and tourism as well as the environment were casually dismissed in the application.
The group decided to approach all agencies/ministries/councils to protest the proposed development and to advocate for the retention of current zoning as expressed in the Official Community Plan. Victor Froese initiated a public awareness campaign and the media has kept the issue alive for the past four months (Oct. 2010-Jan. 2011) with stories and letters to the editors. Early in December 2010 the Vedder Mountain Preservation Group (the name adopted by the resident group) circulated a letter requesting correction of errors and omissions in a “pre-approval” response sent by the city to the Ministry of Mines. A two-week campaign netted over 500 signatures and the letter and signatures were delivered to the mayor and councilors December 13, 2010.
Attention is now focused on lobbying ILMB with regard to tenure for the crown land on the grounds that crown land is to be managed for the benefit of the public on the basis of economic, environmental and social needs (Crown Land Allocation Principles, File 12000-00). MEM will be approached with regard to the mining permit amendment on the principle of seeking, considering, and accommodating wherever possible the concerns and interests of communities respecting aggregate activities (Aggregate Management Principles, Nov. 2009).
We believe the proposal should trigger an automatic environmental assessment by the Environmental Assessment Office because of the scope of the gravel mine. The City of Chilliwack, its mayor and councilors will be asked to protect the zoning (RSV1gsa) and permitting (Development Permit Area #2) provisions in the Official Community Plan which was approved by Chilliwack citizens in 1998.
Chilliwack, BC December 10, 2010
We, the undersigned, call on the Integrated Land Management Bureau*, Province of British Columbia, to not permit tenure on Crown land to Kirkness Pacific Holdings Ltd. and/or Western Explosives Ltd., for the purpose of constructing a conveyor-stockpile-loadout area from the Parmenter Road Quarry site down the north side of Vedder Mountain,
call on the Ministry of Energy and Mines** to not grant a permit to mine gravel on the two lots on Vedder Mountain Road (44100 and 44300) to Kirkness Pacific Holdings Ltd. and/or Western Explosives Ltd.,
call on the Mayor and Council and/or the City of Chilliwack, British Columbia to not allow changes to zoning applying to Lots 44100 and 44300 on Vedder Mountain Road, from RSV1 geologically sensitive area to M6 (Industrial) or to remove them from Development Permit Area #2.
*Recently renamed Crown Lands and Resources, Ministry of Natural Resource Operations
**Recently renamed Ministry of Forests, Mines and Lands
The Preserve Vedder Mountain and Environs petition to City of Chilliwack, BC was written by Victor Froese and is in the category Environment at GoPetition.