A Sumas Mountain quarry operator wants to investigate an adjacent piece of land for its gravel potential, but staff at the Fraser Valley Regional District (FVRD) say there are numerous reasons to object to the proposal.
John Carley, the operator for Corium Quarry, located on Crown land at the base of the southeastern edge of Sumas Mountain, has filed an application to investigate a piece of land next door. The land is just outside Abbotsford’s city limits, but adjacent to Sumas Mountain Interregional Park, which is managed jointly between FVRD and Metro Vancouver.
Carley proposes to dig four 15-metre test holes to determine the quality and quantity of extractable gravel. A second application would be required if a quarry is found to be feasible on the 20-acre piece of land.
Carley says that if the tests go well, he would approach the City of Abbotsford about his intentions.
In his pre-development management plan, he writes: “I will discuss providing much needed aggregate to the Lower Mainland with minimal disturbance to local residences while providing a destination area for public use once operations have concluded.”
He adds that he would consult with First Nations after drilling test holes if the results are favourable.
Staff at the FVRD recommended have objected to the licence, and suggested relaying nine different concerns to the province. The issue will be addressed Thursday by the FVRD’s board, which can support the recommended objections, add their own concerns, or decide to voice another opinion altogether.
A report says that Sumas Mountain holds “special significance to First Nations,” is a popular with trail users and has “high conservation values.” Because of its proximity to the nearby park, where no development is permitted, staff say “proper interface planning” is required.
The report says any development should require the remediation of a trail link that had been destroyed in 2010 by quarry work. The proposal does say preliminary work would be undertaken to connect the Centennial trail.
It adds that the pre-development management plan submitted by the company doesn’t address at-risk species, nor community water sources. Public consultations are needed, the report said, along with a review by scientists and engineers about the potential impacts on the park, landslide risks, and sediment loads. The report also says the FVRD is concerned that it wasn’t referred the report by the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations. Instead, the report came from Metro Vancouver.