City of Prince George disputes gravel mining lawsuit

·2 min read

The City of Prince George has taken issue with the claims set out in a lawsuit filed by two local businesses over a gravel mining operation southwest of Foothills Boulevard and North Nechako Road.

In a notice of claim filed in February, Rock'n'Roll Aggregates Ltd. and Rolling Mix Concrete (B.C.) Ltd. allege the city overreached its authority when it issued a stop work order in October 2020 and are seeking to overturn a city bylaw that imposes a 100-metre setback.

Instead, they contend the work should instead be subject to the B.C. Mines Act, which they say allows a five-metre setback.

However, in a response filed this month, the city says the stop work order was issued because the plaintiffs violated a notice of work issued by the B.C. inspector of mines which, in part, restricted excavation to no closer than 30 metres of the nearest home.

The city claims the setback was violated when the plaintiffs carried out road-building activity that was also "not proposed or envisioned" in the notice of work. It says the permit was secured on the basis of existing road access and that the gravel was to be loaded into highway trucks.

The city also claims the notice was contravened because the plaintiffs failed to install a proper berm completely around the site. "Some of the purported 'Berms' are in the nature of piles of vegetation the plaintiffs have removed and relocated near the property perimeter, rather than a 'berm' installed for the purposes of minimizing the impact of the plantiffs' activities," the city says.

"Based in part on the plaintiffs' works taking place within 30 metres of the 'nearest residence' and without the required fencing, berms and noise attenuation, the plaintiff issued the Stop Work Order."

The claims have not yet been tested in court.

Mark Nielsen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince George Citizen