Skip to content
Join our Newsletter
Join our Newsletter

Public input period set to begin on Bamberton quarry expansion

A Mill Bay resident who was one of the first to raise the alarm over the quarry expansion plans said the comment period and virtual information session don’t seem adequate.

A request to have expansion plans at a Bamberton aggregate quarry face an environmental review will be open to public comments later this month.

The Saanich Inlet Protection Society requested the environmental review after the Malahat First Nation applied to expand the production and size of the quarry on the Bamberton lands, extends its dock on the Saanich Inlet, and expand a soil-deposit site.

The public will be able to comment on the issue between Jan. 17 and Feb. 14, and the Environmental Assessment Office will run a virtual online information session Feb. 2 between 6:30 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Both the Saanich Inlet Protection Society and Malahat Investment Corporation, owned by the nation, will make presentations during the virtual meeting.

Mill Bay resident Maureen Alexander, who was one of the first to raise the alarm over the quarry expansion plans, said the comment period and virtual information session don’t seem adequate.

Alexander said the Saanich Inlet Protection Society has been warned by the Environmental Assessment Office not to stray into conjecture territory during its 15-minute presentation.

“We have been told SIPS must focus their presentation on the concerns in the application and must not discuss potential effects from the proposed expansion, as these are not known at this time,” she said.

That could take some of the punch out of the society’s fight, as it claims to have scientific information about pollution and contamination danger if the quarry and production are expanded.

The society claims the projects, when grouped together, “create significant environmental risk and have not been properly assessed for their potential environmental, economic, social, cultural and health impacts on Saanich Inlet, the surrounding lands and the people who live here.”

The expansion of the quarry does not automatically trigger an environmental review, as the proposed increases in size and production don’t meet the triggering threshold.

To automatically force an environmental assessment, quarry expansion plans must include an increase of more than 50 per cent of its previously permitted size and have an annual production rate in excess of 250,000 tonnes.

According to the Environmental Assessment Office, the proposed quarry expansion would increase the disturbance area of the quarry from 39.3 hectares to 39.6 hectares, or 0.7 per cent. At the same time the production capacity of the quarry would increase to 479,000 tonnes per year from 240,000.

The Malahat First Nation has said the province should reject the society’s application as it does not meet the statutory requirements given the expansion applications are in compliance with the existing regulations and laws.

The quarry expansion plans have also been scaled back significantly in the last three weeks.

A letter from quarry operator Kyle Dolan, general manager of Coast Mountain Resources, noted the original application would have increased the quarry by 47 per cent, but it has since been scaled back to an increase of 0.7 per cent.

Feedback from the public during the comment period will inform the Environmental Assessment Office’s final report, which will be provided to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy for a decision on an environmental assessment.

The Environmental Assessment Office’s draft report, based on its findings so far through discussion with the Malahat First Nation, SIPS, experts and other governments, will be posted publicly when the public comment period opens.

Registration for the virtual meeting Feb. 2 will soon be possible through

push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks