FVRD signs new MOU with Ministry of Energy

Ministry of Energy and Mines, adopts soil removal bylaw agreement aims to reduce conflicts over gravel extraction

Dignitaries sign a new MOU at the 2016 UBCM in Victoria

Dignitaries sign a new MOU at the 2016 UBCM in Victoria

A memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Fraser Valley Regional District (FVRD) and the Ministry of Energy and Mines will see the implementation of the FVRD’s new soil removal bylaw.

The MOU was signed in Victoria on Sept. 27, and according to Chilliwack-Hope MLA Laurie Throness, “will provide security in the siting of gravel operations for residents as well as industry, avoiding the huge industry/community conflicts that have occurred in the past.”

“This is a great day for the Fraser Valley,” Throness said. “Our economy needs inexpensive gravel, and this bylaw ensures that plenty of it will be available, but it also makes sure that gravel operations are not sited in places that are onerous for nearby residents. I think it’s a win-win situation.”

The bylaw divides areas within the FVRD’s jurisdiction into three categories: restricted areas in which no commercial aggregate operations are allowed; community areas, where operations are allowed but need to follow additional requirements and restrictions; and all areas outside of the first two categories, which are permitted to have commercial aggregate operations without the additional restrictions.

However, the bylaw won’t affect existing commercial operations, all of which are in areas that allow commercial aggregation operations.

The idea for the bylaw started over a decade ago as what was then called the Fraser Valley Aggregate Pilot Project, and has been in the making since then.

“About 13 or 14 years ago, then MLA and now mayor of Mission Randy Hawes set out to resolve the friction that often occurred between commercial gravel operators and local governments in the Fraser Valley,” explained energy and mines minister Bill Bennett.

“Now, as a result of a great deal of hard work by mayor Hawes, local government and industry, the Fraser Valley Regional District has a bylaw in place that achieves a reasonable balance and ensures a long-term supply of aggregate in the region.”

In order to come into effect, the Local Government Act and the Community Charter required that the bylaw be approved by Bennett because it included the prohibition of mining activity.

“My decision to approve this bylaw was based on my view that even with the prohibited zones set out in the bylaw, there is a sufficient supply of aggregate in the region,” he said. “In fact, the bylaw provides greater clarity for industry, the FVRD and residents by clearly identifying zones in the regional district where aggregate operations will and will not be allowed.”

However, not everyone is supportive of the bylaw that the BC Stone, Sand and Gravel Association (SSGA) has voiced their concerns against it, as they feel that it could prevent expansion of existing operations, as well as limit the development of new operations.

To address these concerns, the MOU, which limits how the FVRD can implement the bylaw, was signed. However, Bennett noted that the bylaw is specific only to areas with in the FVRD’s jurisdiction, and is not in effect Province-wide.

“I also want to be clear that the approval of this bylaw for the FVRD should not be seen a blanket approval for similar bylaws in other jurisdictions,” he said. “Remember, it took over ten years of extensive consultations and considerable work on the part of all parties for the FVRD to get to this point.”

For FVRD chair Sharon Gaetz, the bylaw is a necessary compromise between the District and Bennett.

“We are so grateful to Minister Bennett and the Province for leveling the playing field, providing a workable solution that will be good for community and for industry,” she said. “The Board is very pleased to finally have a tool that represents a step forward in achieving compromise between many competing interests.”

FVRD signs MOU with Ministry of Energy and Mines, adopts soil removal bylaw Agreement aims to reduce conflicts over gravel extraction “This is a great day for the Fraser Valley” said Chilliwack-Hope MLA Laurie Throness.

 

Just Posted

Temperature records were broken for June 21, 2021. (Black Press Media file photo)
Record-breaking heat shimmered across Fraser Valley for second day

Tuesday should be a bit cooler says forecast from Environment Canada

A drone’s-eye view of the Agassiz-Rosedale Bridge. (Screenshot/Shutter Speed Network)
Kent Council advocates for a wider Agassiz-Rosedale Bridge

Council voted unanimously to send letter of concern to transportation ministry

Artists featured in the BLM Social Justice Art Project at UFV are (clockwise from top left): Michelle Msami, Dona Park, Rain Neeposh and Faria Firoz.
Black Lives Matter art exhibit opens at UFV in Abbotsford

Show features the work of four artists and runs until Sept. 15

Chilliwack-Hope MP Mark Strahl (right) toured the Hope Curling Club last February along with Ray Scott (left) and Craig Traun (middle) after the building had accessibility improvements. (Submitted photo)
Chilliwack-Hope MP Mark Strahl touts Enabling Accessibility Fund

Strahl is encouraging local organizations to apply for funding for mid-sized projects before July 29

Alexis Paige Simpson has not been in contact with her family in two months. (RCMP photo)
Chilliwack RCMP looking for missing 20-year-old woman

Police say Alexis Paige Simpson has not been in contact with her family in two months

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Golden Ears Mountains, captured in May 2021. (Black Press Media files)
2nd year of day passes required for entry into 5 provincial parks launches in B.C.

Pilot program seeks to protect the environment by addressing visitor surges amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Lincoln Mckoen. (YouTube)
Anglican bishop of the central Interior resigns over sexual misconduct allegations

Lincoln Mckoen was elected as a bishop of the Territory of the People region last year

The former Kamloops Indian Residential School on the Tk’emlups te Secwépemc reserve. (Allen Douglas/Kamloops This Week)
Tk’emlups preparing for archaeological work at B.C. residential school site where remains found

The 215 graves are, to the band’s knowledge, undocumented deaths for which it is still collecting records

Fans watch the warm-up before Game 6 between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens in NHL playoff hockey action Saturday, May 29, 2021 in Montreal. Quebec’s easing of COVID-19 restrictions will allow 2,500 fans to attend the game for the first time in fourteen months. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Two-thirds of Canadians say governments shouldn’t lift all COVID-19 restrictions

Poll reports Canadians who gained pandemic weight say they have gained 16 pounds on average

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Paul Bernardo is shown in this courtroom sketch during Ontario court proceedings via video link in Napanee, Ont., on October 5, 2018. Teen killer and serial rapist Paul Bernardo is set for a parole hearing today. The designated dangerous offender, has been eligible for full parole for more than three years. Bernardo’s horrific crimes in the 1980s and early 1990s include for kidnapping, torturing and killing Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy near St. Catharines, Ont. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Greg Banning
Killer rapist Paul Bernardo faces parole hearing today; victim families opposed

Designated dangerous offender has been eligible for full parole for more than three years.

People look over the damage after a tornado touched down in Mascouche, Que., north of Montreal, Monday, June 21, 2021. Dozens of homes were damaged and one death has been confirmed. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
One dead and extensive damage as tornado hits Mascouche, Que., north of Montreal

Damage reported in several parts of the city, and emergency teams dispatched to sectors hardest hit

Most Read