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City concluding legal action concerning gravel pit

The City of Prince George and Rolling Mix Concrete Ltd. and Rock n’ Roll Aggregate Ltd filed a consent order in B.C. provincial court this week, concluding the legal action regarding the setback distance of the mining operation.

The city has been in litigation with the property owner of the gravel pit since February 2021 regarding setback regulations outlined in City of Prince George Soil Removal and Deposit Bylaw No. 9030, 2019. The bylaw provides a minimum setback distance of 100 metres for soil removal or deposit operations when they are adjacent to residential areas with the purpose of mitigating negative impacts that may be associated with the soil operation. Last year, the city became aware of trees being removed at the gravel pit operated by Rolling Mix Concrete, prompting concerns of potential contraventions of the bylaw.

The city made efforts to enforce the bylaw to protect those residential properties that might be affected by the mining activities. However, the gravel pit is operating under a valid mining permit issued under the Mines Act, which is the jurisdiction of the B.C. government. Following further legal review and analysis, the city has concluded that it does not have jurisdiction to restrict or govern mining activities authorized by and conducted under a validly issued mining permit.

The mining permit issued by the province to Rolling Mix Concrete and Rock n’ Roll Aggregate supersedes city bylaws and authorizes the permit holders to conduct mining operations on their property, including the removal of trees and other materials as long as their activities comply with the permit. Under the Mines Act, the permit issued by the province determines the setback for all mining operations. The setbacks on permits are unique to each permit and can change upon application by the permit holder.

Earlier this week, city staff delivered letters to properties on Rosia Road and Evergreen Mobile Home Park that back directly on to the gravel pit to notify residents of the decision. City administration is also reviewing Bylaw 9030 to ensure it is properly aligned with the law as it relates to provincial jurisdiction of mining permits and will bring to council recommended bylaw amendments for approval in the near future.

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