News

Mine opponent sends out quarry 'before' and 'after' photos

A digitally altered aerial photo being distributed by a quarry opponent suggests what the western summit face of Sumas Mtn. might look like over 100 years of permit duration, if a mine is approved. - Submitted photo
A digitally altered aerial photo being distributed by a quarry opponent suggests what the western summit face of Sumas Mtn. might look like over 100 years of permit duration, if a mine is approved.
— image credit: Submitted photo

Images of how Sumas Mountain could look if a current rock quarry application passes will soon be mailed to local government officials, paired with a letter of concern.

Sumas Mountain resident Walter Neufeld recently hired a plane to fly over the mountain’s summit where there is a pending gravel mine application to quarry 310 acres.

If passed, it could potentially block public access to Sumas Mountain Regional Park, and would hamper plans to convert the region to recreational green space.

“People will be shocked with what’s going on up there – they’re basically removing our mountain tops,” said Neufeld, who is also a member of Fraser Valley Regional District Citizens Association, a group that helps communities organize a more coordinated response to gravel mining applications.

“The initial size of this application is huge but what makes this application most disturbing is its potential for expansion. Experience has shown that the initial gravel mine permit application is a means to unlimited expansion.”

Neufeld displayed a number of his photographs at a recent public information meeting at Abbotsford’s Straiton Hall, organized by the Recreation Sites and Trails Branch B.C.

His images illustrate the mountain’s summit before the application, and a digitally altered version of what it would look like if the quarry was to pass. He also portrayed the “known tenured land holdings exploitable by the permit applicant, estimated at between 1,500 to 2,000 acres, over the 100-year permit duration.”

Approximately 60 people attended the meeting to voice their opposition, calling the area “our Stanley Park.”

The city has also expressed its opposition, however, it ultimately can’t block approval since the land is in Area G of the Fraser Valley Regional District and access is provincially regulated through the Ministry of Energy and Mines.

On May 13, city council voted to instruct staff to prepare a letter to the province registering the “strongest possible objection” to the quarry. The application was made by Dave Taylor of 266531 BC Ltd., the owner of Westland Tractor Company in Kamloops.

Taylor has not returned the News’ calls.

The public has until July 9 to comment on the application.

Neufeld urges residents to speak up, as “letter-writing is very critical at this stage.”

He suggests writing to local government officials.

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