The company behind the development of a rock quarry in the District of Highlands has cleared another legal hurdle on its road to establishing an industrial site along Millstream Road.
B.C. Supreme Court has ruled the district’s bylaws over O.K. Industries’ activities on the quarry site do not apply as the activities, which include tree falling, soil removal, blasting and building, fall under provincial jurisdiction under the Mines Act.
The court also stayed a cease-work order issued Oct. 3 to stop tree clearing that was being done to prepare the site.
Mel Sangha, general manager of O.K. Industries, said he is pleased with the ruling, noting the case could have had far-reaching implications.
Sangha said if Highlands had been successful, quarries, gravel pits and mines around the province may have been forced to get approval for everything from tree clearing to blasting from the local municipality rather than the province.
Those kinds of approvals could mean significant delays and increased costs.
O.K. Industries is still facing another date in court over the proposed quarry.
The Highlands District Community Association has filed an appeal of an earlier Supreme Court ruling that denied a judicial review of the province’s decision to approve a mining permit for the project.
A date for the appeal has not yet been set.
O.K. Industries bought the 64-acre property in 2015 for $4.2 million. The company initially applied to have it rezoned to accommodate commercial and light industrial activity from its green-belt designation.
When the District of Highlands rejected the proposal in 2016, O.K. applied to the province for a mines permit for a quarry.
When that permit was granted in 2019 it triggered the community association’s application for a judicial review.