The community of Steelhead should brace themselves for a gravel pit opening on Thomas Avenue and Cardinal Street unless a negotiated settlement can be reached with the property owner.
That was the message coming from Mission council Monday as they dealt with Dean Hodgson’s plan to turn his 80-acre property in Steelhead into a gravel mining operation.
Hodgson’s name is on the application put forward by H&H Contracting to the province’s Ministry of Energy, Mines and Natural Gas in hopes of converting the property to the sand and gravel pit. This comes after two failed attempts by the property owner to convince council to let him build a subdivision on the same land.
Despite a packed house of Steelhead residents on hand to voice their opposition, Mayor Ted Adlem said he doesn’t believe it matters what recommendations the municipality makes. It’s his understanding that the gravel pit will get the green light.
“The Ministry of Mines will approve the application,” said Adlem. “I have had several conversations with MLAs and those above in the last week with regard to that. I think you are dealing with a mine.”
Adlem said he wasn’t trying to be negative, rather realistic.
The mayor was addressing Mark Diamond, chairman of the Steelhead Community Association, as he presented council with his concerns over the proposed mine.
Diamond told council the idea of placing a mine on the 80-acre property will have a devastating affect by reducing property values and destroying the lifestyle Steelhead residents cherish.
Diamond said the Thomas Avenue property was a regular meeting place for members of the community before Hodgson purchased the land, often hosting picnics and barn dances. It was also viable farm land where cattle, horses, pigs and chickens were raised, he said.
Hensman said it would be unfortunate to see a mine on the site but hopes there is time for both sides to come together and negotiate a workable solution to benefit everyone involved.
“A compromise in our community is much better than this,” said Hensman.
While council will voice its opposition to the the mine, Nundal said while they can’t stop the application process from being approved by the Ministry of Mines, they can put weight restrictions on Thomas Road. He said that would stop the mine from proceeding unless Hodgson pays for a complete rebuild on the road.
Diamond told council Thomas Road is ill-equipped to handle the kind of traffic that Hodgson is proposing for Thomas Avenue.
When contacted by The Record, Hodgson declined comment.