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City concedes on setback controversy at gravel works

B.C. Mines Act allows for smaller setback than City soil removal bylaw
City Hall

A legal dispute between the City of Prince George and two local businesses over the setbacks at a gravel quarry has come to an end.

In a statement issued Monday, the City said it has agreed to a consent order with Rock'n’ Roll Aggregate Ltd. and Rolling Mix Concrete Ltd. regarding a long-running conflict over the works southwest of of the intersection of North Nechako Road and Foothills Boulevard.

In doing so, the City said it agrees that the B.C. Mines Act supersedes the City's soil removal bylaw and will no longer fight a notice of claim on the issue.

It means the works can continue past a 100-metre setback along the sides bordered by residential property the City had claimed was violated. Under the plan approved by the provincial government, the setback is 50 metres.

"The City made efforts to enforce the Bylaw to protect those residential properties that might be affected by the mining activities," the City said Monday. "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."

City bylaw enforcement officers had served the parties with a stop work order in October 2020 prompting Rock n’ Roll Aggregate Ltd. and Rolling Mix Concrete Ltd. to file a notice of claim in February, asserting that the B.C. Mines Act takes precedence.

Letters were delivered to properties on Rosia Road and Evergreen Mobile Home Park that back directly on to the gravel pit to notify residents of the decision earlier Monday.

City staff is also reviewing the soil removal bylaw "to ensure it is properly aligned with the law as it relates to provincial jurisdiction of mining permits" with the aim of bringing recommendations for amendments to council in the near future.

The consent order was filed at the courthouse on Monday.