The Town of Fort Macleod may soon mine a new source of municipal revenue.
Council is investigating mining gravel within town limits.
“Let’s continue on to define the process and move it forward to where we can get public input,” Coun. Michael Dyck said.
Council at its Aug. 25 meeting reviewed a report from Town of Fort Macleod development officer Rhonda Day.
Council had earlier directed administration to look into development of a municipal gravel mining operation.
Day reported to council on a meeting she had with three gravel pit operators, who all supported the idea.
“All three of them were, why haven’t you done this sooner,” Day said. “They said it’s so common sense they couldn’t believe we haven’t already done it.”
Day told council the gravel pit operators listed several reasons for the Town of Fort Macleod getting into the gravel business.
Those reasons included the large amount of high quality gravel in the Town of Fort Macleod.
There is also easy access to provincial highways, so trucks will not have to travel through town and disturb residents.
The gravel pit operators also noted there are cleaner, less invasive mining practices now.
“Mining practices have changed dramatically and they aren’t the eyesore or the troublesome impact that they used to be,” Day said.
Day was also told the gravel pits can be reclaimed to grade level to allow for development for industrial or residential use.
Day said the discussion was around starting with a test pit that did not require provincial approval.
Initial areas being considered for a gravel pit include the industrial business park land and the town-owned horse pastures.
The gravel pit operators also recommended looking at land above the Fort Macleod Golf Club and a 10-acre parcel between Vanee Livestock and the soccer field.
Dredging gravel from the Oldman River was suggested as a way to mine gravel while mitigating flooding.
“I just thought at this point you might be ready to go ahead and do a little more research,” Day said.
Dyck said it will be important to consult the public before proceeding with a gravel pit in town limits.
“I really think that public engagement will be critical here,” Day said.
Day in her written report noted that the gravel would be mined in Fort Macleod but processed — including crushing and screening — at another location away from town.
“I really like that they said the processing is always off site, so basically we have the digging and trucking,” Mayor Rene Gendre said.
Chief administrative officer David Connauton said the Town of Fort Macleod is sitting on a huge gravel pit that could generate considerable revenue if mined.
“I think it would be worth looking into,” Coun. Mike Collar said.
Day said the benefits to the Town of Fort Macleod could outweigh any negative impacts.
“I think it’s going to be a very positive thing,” Day said.