Public speaks against proposed ready-mix operation

Council requests staff report before making decision on rezoning

Mission council is asking for a third reading report from staff before deciding whether to rezone property on Keystone to allow Allard Contractors to build a ready mix concrete plant.

The report, which could take months to complete, will include information on a noise abatement strategy, water and air quality protection and water source and capacity. Council also directed staff to negotiate an amenity for the district with the proponent, such as improving the area around Mill Pond on Dewdney Trunk Road.

Coun. Jeff Jewell also asked for a comprehensive benefit analysis and a risk analysis.

“I want to understand why it’s in the interest of common citizens in Mission,” he explained. All his colleagues supported the request, except for Coun. Larry Nundal, who doesn’t think it’s fair to put Allard Contractors through the exercise because “we don’t ask any other business to give us a business plan to see how it’s a benefit to the district.”

Coun. Dave Hensman was absent from the meeting.

Council made these requests following a public hearing Monday night where about a dozen people spoke. A ready mix concrete plant combines ingredients needed to make concrete except water. When the material is loaded into a truck, it is mixed with water and transported to the work site.

Most of the speakers didn’t support the application and pointed out the project has been turned down twice.

“We keep getting the same people asking for the same thing,” said Paul Morgan, a 15-year Shaw Street resident. “I know in time, [Allard] will win. It’s not a coincidence it’s been turned down each and every time. This is not what we want.”

Speakers were concerned about noise, air pollution, traffic, land values, and the environment.

Janet Chalmers worried about creating a water-for-profit business.

You put water in the trucks and ship it out of the community, she explained, adding there’s no way to measure how much water is being used. “It’s profit.”

Allard Contractors Ltd.’s vice-president Jim Allard told council the operation would not impact the ground water or aquifer in the the area. He explained he has seven water licences and the business collects ground, storm, and other forms of recycled water.

“We don’t discharge it,” he said.

Allard said when his family bought the property in 1980, it was already a gravel pit zoned for ready mix and black top operations, but “we put it on hold and didn’t operate it for a number of years.”

During that time, the district changed the zoning.

Sand and gravel is the cheapest construction material we have, but the further you have to haul it, the more expensive it gets, Allard said.

“The idea is to be on the road a little as possible.”