The City of Abbotsford will hold a virtual public information meeting on a proposal to remove 450,000 cubic metres of rock over seven years from a quarry on Quadling Road.
A date hasn’t yet been scheduled, but city council agreed at its executive meeting on March 29 that the matter should be referred to a public session.
The quarry at 40251 Quadling Rd. – located in northeast Abbotsford at the base of Sumas Mountain near the Barrowtown Pump Station – has been dormant since 2012. It was previously mined by two different permit holders, and it was abandoned when a stop-work order and bankruptcy brought operations to a hasty end.
Mountainside Quarries, which is currently responsible for the site’s operation, has said the site now needs to be mined to protect the public.
The company says massive rocks bounce down the cliff and into the public right-of-way, threatening the safety of anyone using Quadling Road, including those who park on the road to access a nearby boat launch.
Mountainside has said there is no way to fix the site without more mining.
The company has received a mining permit from the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation, as well as a permit from the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development for the removal of peregrine falcon nests from the quarry face.
The operation of the mine will be inspected and regulated by the province.
Mountainside has also received a “temporary” soil removal permit from the city to conduct “emergency work,” including construction of an access road to complete required scaling and site stabilization. The city has received a soil removal application for the continuation and expansion of quarry development.
Tyler Bowie, the city’s director of infrastructure planning, told council that the proposed work has resulted in worries from nearby neighbours and property owners.
“(They) have registered concerns with the proposed re-activation of the quarry, citing dust and noise generated from additional truck traffic, impacts from blasting and crushing activity, impact to wildlife and effects of mining activity on the groundwater aquifer,” he said.
Truck traffic to and from the quarry will use North Parallel and No. 3 roads.
Mayor Henry Braun said he has received much feedback from residents, and some are questioning why a public information meeting is needed if the province has already issued a mining permit.
Rob Isaac, general manager of engineering and regional utilities, said the information meeting will provide an opportunity for the public to air their concerns and for Mountainside to have their responses on record.
He said the city has already received written concerns from residents.
“We’re going to summarize those concerns and forward them to the province from the City of Abbotsford to ensure that the province addresses their concerns,” Isaac said.
The virtual meeting, which is expected to take place in late April, will include a presentation followed by questions from the public. A staff report back to council is expected in early May. More information will be presented at a later date.