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Fort Macleod town council still researching gravel mining for revenue

Town council is digging deeper into a plan to mine gravel within Town of Fort Macleod limits.
Council on Sept. 22 directed development officer Rhonda Day to continue researching a plan for the municipality to mine gravel as a source of town revenue.
Council made that decision after reviewing a report from Spencer Croil, a planner with the Oldman River Regional Services Commission.
Croil told council one of the considerations is whether it will allow only town-owned pits inside Fort Macleod, or whether gravel extraction can also be pursued by private land owners.
Croil also told council that other municipalities that allow gravel extraction have “stringent” regulations on aspects such as hours of operation, screening and noise, and permitted maximum pit depths.
Croil listed as other matters for council to consider the time line under which a pit can operate, wind tolerance and on-site watering.
Council is also considering dredging the Oldman River as a source of gravel, and a way to alleviate flooding in the spring.
Croil suggested contacting regulatory bodies to find out if dredging is even possible.
Croil in his report supported the idea that once council has completed its research and devised a plan, it consult with the public to get feedback from residents.
“Within the public engagement program, it may be prudent to provide an overview of the areas of town gravel extraction may be considered, and allow the public the opportunity to provide feedback regarding their main concerns,” Croil wrote in his report. “Once the concerns of the public are better understood, the town can identify the specific measures that may mitigate many of these concerns.”
Croil suggested council consider a third party review of known and potential gravel deposits in Fort Macleod to determine just how profitable extraction would be for the town.
If council decides to move ahead with gravel mining in the town, Croil made several recommendations, including:

  • Include gravel extraction operations in discretionary uses only.
  • Include performance standards that minimize potential negative impacts within the land use by-law as determined by public consultation and conventional best practices.
  • Contact regulatory bodies and other stakeholders regarding dredging of the river in order that the opportunities and constraints and feedback from these bodies may be understood as early on as possible

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