A rock quarry. (Markus Distelrath/Pixabay)

Central Okanagan residents, irrigation district oppose proposed rock quarry off Hwy 33

Residents and Black Mountain Irrigation District said there are environmental, water risks

A proposed rock quarry in Joe Rich has residents and the Black Mountain Irrigation District (BMID) worried.

Westridge Rock Ventures Ltd. has proposed a sand, gravel and aggregate rock quarry be established just off Highway 33. The company listed some of the benefits of the location as being closer to the market, with traffic being reduced as Joe Rich is rural, which means less wear and tear on roads and reduced greenhouse gases and fuel consumption.

Westridge also stated the proposed location is not in an environmentally sensitive area.

Despite that, the community is still concerned and some are hoping the quarry proposal doesn’t get approved.

Area resident Shawn Blennerhassett said the site for the new quarry borders his property, and he and his wife are concerned that an industrial mining operation could be too close to them and their neighbours.

“I’d never even heard of the application previously. A neighbour just informed us out of the blue that this was happening,” he said.

“This is a small community of residential and rural acreages, and it’s not really the proper place for a commercial quarry operation.”

Blennerhassett cited some of the reasons that he and other residents are concerned about, including traffic, noise, potential results from crushing and blasting rocks, the effect a quarry could have on local wells, as well as disturbing the local wildlife.

READ MORE: Indigenous leaders frustrated after Pope passes on apologizing for residential schools

BMID administrator Bob Hrasko said although the proposed quarry is not in an environmentally sensitive area, it is just above a 130-metre silt bluff slope that could easily become unstable.

“We supply water to approximately 5,000 acres of agricultural land in the east benches of Kelowna and we also supply domestic water to about 28,000 people,” Hrasko said.

“The issues we have with the quarry being located there is the vibrations from blasting and all the activities that will occur above the highway… the silt bluff slope has historically seen slumping and instability.

“The worry is that the silt bluffs could fail and block Mission Creek entirely.”

The Regional District of Central Okanagan (RDCO) is one of the referral agencies for Westridge’s application, but the final decision rests with B.C.’s Ministry of Mines. This means that even if the RDCO supports the application — or doesn’t — the province will have the final say.

Now, residents are holding information sessions and reaching out to the province and Westridge to relocate the site.

“I have nothing against mining and whether gravel is needed desperately or not, it doesn’t matter. But there are many, many other places, better places, to have this quarry,” Blennerhassett said.

Hrasko echoed his sentiments.

“Anything that will contribute to a slope failure and damage Mission Creek is a bad idea. Westridge is a reputable company and we buy gravel from them for our operations, but we would like this site to not be approved,” he said.

“We would like to see a pit but perhaps somewhere else.”

Black Press Media has reached out to the Ministry of Mines for comment.

READ MORE: Tk’emlups condemns vandalism at Kamloops Catholic church


@twilamam
twila.amato@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

A concept rendering of the proposed seven-unit, two-storey development at 1129 Riverside Ave. in Sicamous. (District of Sicamous graphic)
Proposed luxury development in Sicamous sparks parking concerns

Seven-unit commercial-residential building planned for Riverside Avenue

The Shaw Centre and the SASCU Recreation Centre are the two largest producers of greenhouse gas emissions on City of Salmon Arm properties. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)
City of Salmon staff surprised COVID not cause of drop in greenhouse gas emissions

2020 sees emissions on city-owned properties decrease well below 2019 totals

Shuswap Litas and Son of Stomp head out from uptown Askew’s parking lot on Thursday, June 10, some with teddy bears and stuffies, to ride to Pierre’s Point by Adams Lake community hall to show their support for band members in the wake of the confirmation of 215 children buried at the site of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)
Shuswap bike clubs ride to support Indigenous communities

Motorcyclists go to Pierre’s Point in solidarity with bands in wake of residential school findings

Interior Health is offering mobile vaccination clinics for the first dose only of COVID-19 vaccine in the Shuswap from June 15 to June 19h. (Interior Health image)
First-dose vaccinations for COVID-19 offered via mobile clinics in Shuswap

Clinic in Salmon Arm scheduled for June 15, other clinics in Sorrento, Malakwa, Chase

The price per litre of regular gasoline was at 145.9 cents at several gas stations in downtown Salmon Arm on June 11, 2021. (Zachary Roman - Salmon Arm Observer)
Gas prices pumped up in Salmon Arm and Sicamous

Price spikes from 131.9 to as high as 145.9 cents per litre

Dr. Albert de Villiers, chief medical health officer for the Interior Health Authority. (Contributed)
Black Press Media Weekly Roundup: Top headlines this week

Here’s a summary of this week’s biggest stories from the Okanagan-Shuswap

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of June 13 to 19

Flag Day, Garbage Man Day, International Panic Day all coming up this week

57-year-old Kathleen Richardson was discovered deceased in her home Wednesday, June 9, 2021. Her death is considered a homicide and connected to the slain brothers found on a Naramata forest road. (Submitted)
Naramata community in shock as condolences pour in for homicide victim Kathy Richardson

Richardson was well liked in the community, a volunteer firefighter with a home-based salon

British Columbia-Yukon Community News Association’s 2021 Ma Murray Awards were handed out during a virtual ceremony on Friday, June 10. (Screen grab)
Black Press Media winners take gold at B.C. and Yukon journalism awards

Publications received nods in dozens of categories

Princeton GSAR responds 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. In 2020 the crew was called out 34 times, and members spent 721 hours on calls, and 683 hours training. Photo Princeton GSAR Facebook
Teen missing in Manning Park found after 24 hours

Young man spends night on mountain and survives with just a few scrapes

The RCMP are asking for assistance regarding the death of Kathleen Richardson of Naramata, pictured here. Her death is believed to be related to two homicides in Naramata in May. (RCMP)
Police identify South Okanagan homicide victim as 57-year-old Naramata woman

57-year-old Kathleen Richardson was discovered deceased in her home Wednesday

Two e-scooters parked on the sidewalk along Water Street in downtown Kelowna on Monday, May 3. Scooters parked on walkways are causing accessibility issues for some people with disabilities. (Michael Rodriguez/Capital News)
Kelowna General Hospital clinicians observe increase in e-scooter injuries

A report is set to go to city council next week on how the e-scooter pilot has gone thus far

Fair-goers take a ride at the 120th annual Armstrong Interior Provincial Exhibition and Stampede Aug. 28-Sept. 1, 2019. (Katherine Peters - Morning Star)
Armstrong’s IPE not eligible for COVID-19 grant designed for major attractions

Shuswap MLA Greg Kyllo criticized the rigidity of the provincial program’s criteria

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets campers while visiting McDougall, Ont. on Thursday, July 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
71% of B.C. men say they’d prefer to go camping with Trudeau: survey

Most British Columbians with plans to go camping outdoors say they’d prefer to go with Trudeau or Shania Twain

Most Read