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Regional district recommends ALR exclusion for lime quarry

The Regional District of Fraser-Fort George is recommending the Agricultural Land Commission approve a limestone quarry and processing facility at Eaglet Lake.

The board endorsed Graymont Western Canada’s request to the commission for non-farm use of agricultural land to allow the construction and use of a conveyor corridor across ALR lands. The company is hoping to develop a limestone quarry and lime-processing facility south of Eaglet Lake in Giscome.

The intended use for the conveyor is for the transportation of limestone from the rock quarry to the processing plant for processing. The application only applies to the conveyor, not the processing plant which was subject to a previous ALR exclusion application.

The Eaglet Lake Farmer’s Institute has requested the board to not approve the request, claiming the process has not been a transparent one.

“We send this letter in protest regarding your process, and asking you to reject the proposed removal of the above noted ALR parcels in our Eaglet Lake region,”Andrew Adams Secretary, Eaglet Lake Farmers’ Institute in a May 1 letter to the board. “Time and time again Eaglet Lake Farmers’ Institute has been told that government policies in regards to land sales, transfers, permitting and zoning changes will be transparent but to this date Eaglet Lake Farmers’ Institute has been left in the dark in regards to Graymont’s proposed limestone mine … This application should not be forwarded to the municipal board as is, and without further consultation. Other agencies referred to have been given false and incorrect key information in this process, and Eaglet Lake Farmers’ Institute has had to email and write to get clear answers regarding the process. Eaglet Lake Farmers’ Institute again requests that the ARF be re-drafted, correctly, clearly explaining the decision which RDFFG is faced with regarding whether or not to forward the application to the ALR, and then re-sent to all agencies referred to, and a reasonable time period be allowed for those agencies to comment on the basis of clear and accurate information.”

The province granted the project an environmental assessment certificate in December of last year.

There are 25 conditions that are part of the Environmental Assessment Certificate. Design requirements are specified in the certified project description. Each of the conditions and the certified project description are legally-binding requirements that Graymont must meet to be in compliance with the certificate.

The certificate conditions were developed following consultation and input from the Lheidli T’enneh First Nation, government agencies, communities and the public. Key conditions and requirements for the project mean that Graymont must:

  • Hire an Independent environmental monitor to audit whether Graymont is complying with the conditions in the Environmental Assessment Certificate;
  • Abide by the greenhouse gas emissions cap in the certified project description and meet the requirements set out in British Columbia’s Climate Action Plan (including payment of a carbon tax) to ensure the lowest greenhouse gas-emitting fuel options;
  • Develop management plans to monitor and mitigate effects on wildlife, fish and fish habitat, air quality, and water; and
  • Establish a Community Advisory Committee that will receive information about how well Graymont is managing effects on air quality, groundwater and surface water quality, wildlife interactions, visual mitigations, public access management, and noise management, and will provide a venue in which to raise and address concerns about the project with Graymont.
  • The Giscome project will require various federal, provincial and local government permits to proceed. The Environmental Assessment Office will co-ordinate compliance management efforts with other government agencies to ensure that the office is satisfied that certificate conditions are met throughout the life of the project.

With a cost of between $80 million and $90 million for the first phase and approximately $25 million for the second phase, the Giscome project will operate for at least 50 years, according to the province. The project will initially extract up to 600,000 tonnes of limestone per year, with a future potential limestone extraction rate of up to 1.7 million tonnes per year. Employment during construction is estimated by Graymont to be approximately 90 person-years, with an estimated 1,000 person-years of employment during operations.

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