'Once it is gone, it is gone': Proposed gravel pit near Rivers sees pushback from residents
The site of a proposed gravel pit near Rivers, Manitoba, that is facing some backlash from residents. (Source: Application for Conditional Use/Riverdale Municipality)
WINNIPEG -- A proposed gravel pit on provincial Crown Land near Rivers, Man., is seeing pushback from residents and neighbours in the area.
Eleanor Beever has lived on an area of leased Crown land south of Rivers since 1984, and said her husband's family has been living on the land for more than 100 years.
Beever is among a number of residents who are opposed to a potential new neighbour moving in.
Adam Mahaney, the general manager of Western Asphalt Products, said he received a quarry lease from the Province of Manitoba to open up a gravel pit on a section of Crown land south of Rivers.
He is now looking for a conditional use order from the Municipality of Riverdale, a step that has been met with opposition from some residents.
Beever's family has an active gravel pit on their land less than three kilometres north of Mahaney's proposed pit.
In early April, Beever and other residents attended a public hearing in the Municipality of Riverdale to oppose the project over fears it will harm the environment, habitat, and waterways in the area.
"Once it is gone, it is gone," she said. "You could never rehabilitate what nature has created thousands of years ago – it is a tragedy."
In the application, Mahaney said the pit would be in operation for 10-20 years, and said he doesn't anticipate any surface or groundwater effects from the quarry.
Mahaney told CTV News the pit would be used primarily for highway surfacing work for provincial tenders in the area. He said the company applying for the gravel pit – a numbered company that he said is under the same ownership as Western Asphalt Products – has rehabilitated many pits before.
He proposed to save all the topsoil and subsoil as the pit is developed, and once an area of the pit is depleted, lay the topsoil back on the pit and reseed the area for rehabilitation.
"I really think this is getting blown out of proportion for the size of project that it is," said Mahaney.
"We are a responsible company – we don't just go in and strip mine the gravel and (say), 'See ya later.' That is not what we are looking to do at all."
A provincial spokesperson told CTV News all quarry lease applications go through a technical advisory committee before being issued, and may have conditions put in place to 'mitigate any potential negative impacts on the environment.'
Mahaney said they are completing a heritage resource impact assessment and will be providing the findings of the assessment to the municipality.
Riverdale Municipality Mayor Todd Gill said these public consultations are an opportunity for both the public and Mahaney to make their case for or against the pit.
"The applicant is well within their rights to apply to have a quarry, and the people are well within their rights to be heard," Gill said.
"Ultimately council will be faced with making the decision."
Once the assessment is completed, Gill said the public hearing will continue, though no date has been set for the meeting.