Courts Opens Door for New Canadian Operations

A court decision favoring several gravel operations near Big Hill Springs Provincial Park, 40 kilometers northwest of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, compounds threats to the popular area, said advocates for the park, according to a report in the Calgary Herald.

In October 2019, Court of Queen’s Bench ruled in favor of a challenge by two local landowners near the park who contended the cumulative effects of noise, traffic and dust produced by the proposed pits hadn’t been taken into account by Rocky View County.

But on July 20, the Alberta Court of Appeal overturned that ruling, siding with the county and gravel suppliers, effectively clearing the way for the quarrying near Highway 567 and Range Road 40 previously approved by Rocky View County councilors. In its decision, the appeals court ruled the county councilors followed a proper process in approving the gravel mines. “We conclude the decisions of the Rocky View County Council were transparent, intelligible and justified,” stated the written ruling.

This follows on the heels of the council’s approval last March of Mountain Ash LP’s 325-acre gravel operation, which would be 1,200 meters from the park’s boundary and 300 meters from the headwaters of its creek.

The ruling appears to signal a practical open season for gravel operations that could potentially harm the park’s Big Hill Springs creek and air quality, said Rocky View County Councilor Crystal Kissel, who voted against the Mountain Ash pit.