By Adam R. MacDonald
Earlier this year, Sparwood council debated whether the Elk Valley Firewood Site is a suitable location for further exploration and development of a gravel pit, asphalt plant, and/or material storage area.
The site, located on the south side of the intersection of Highway 3 and 43 has been identified as a potential source for gravel extraction.
Council agreed that the site should be explored to identify the quantity of gravel at the location, cost savings and any concerns regarding the site. Groundtech Engineering conducted an investigation into the quality and quantity of gravel at this site. The report, which can be viewed at City Hall, indicates that the material is suitable for processing aggregate, and in order to realize cost savings, construction of an asphalt plant is also necessary.
“We’re looking at a few hundred thousand dollars in savings,” said Danny Dwyer, Director of Planning and Engineering Services for the District of Sparwood.
Council considered several concerns regarding the building of the asphalt plant, including the visibility of the plant, as well as the dust, noise, and odour potentially created by it. These concerns will be addressed by the building of berms between Highway 3 and the pit in order to reduce both the visibility of the plant and the noise from the processing machinery. ‘The emissions from asphalt plants are not to the same degree that they used to be,” said Mr. Dwyer, highlighting the fact that, as asphalt plants now utilize bag houses, the dust and odour from the processing will be greatly reduced, as well. Furthermore, the benefits of having the asphalt plant are more than simply money savings. “The hotter the asphalt is as it goes down, the better quality you have,” said Terry Melcer, Chief Administrative Officer for the District, “and that asphalt will hit the road immediately so it definitely gives you a much better product.”
After these concerns were debated by Council, the motion: “that the development of the site next to the former Coal Discovery Centre be approved and that the placement of gravel crushing and asphalt plants be approved for 2012 only” was carried.