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Gravel miner seeking damages from city: court filing

Operator also applying to reduce setback along sides bordering residential property
gravel operation
The owners of this gravel operation at Foothills and Nechako are applying to the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation for a smaller setback.

A legal battle between the City of Prince George and the owners of a gravel extraction operation may not be over yet.

On Dec. 9, three days after the city issued a statement conceding the provincial government has authority over the operation, an amended notice of claim was filed on behalf of Rock'n'Roll Aggregates Ltd. and Rolling Mix Concrete (B.C.) Ltd., indicating the two businesses are continuing to seek damages for the costs related to a city-imposed shutdown of the operation at the corner of Foothills Boulevard and North Nechako Road.

In mid-October 2020, bylaw enforcement officers issued a cease work order under the city's soil removal bylaw after becoming aware that trees were being removed at the site and that a 100 metre setback from the sides bordering residential property may have been violated. Under the plan approved by the B.C. Ministry of  Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation, a 50-metre setback is allowed.

According to the amended notice, a contractor hired to clear surface waste material and build a berm along the perimeter had to cease work, forcing the plaintiffs to pay the contractor's costs of moving onto and then leaving the site. Moreover, it says the original contract price is no longer applicable as the costs to complete the work have since "increased considerably."

It also says that with the cease work order, Rolling Mix Concrete had to source material from other parties at higher cost.

"The defendant is liable to the plaintiffs for additional damages," the businesses contend in the amended claim.

Both the plaintiffs' lawyer, Roy Stewart, and a representative of Rolling Mix Concrete declined to comment on the matter.

The city, in turn, provided the following comment: "The City of Prince George reaffirms it’s publicly stated position that the legal action with Rolling Mix Concrete Ltd. and Rock'n’ Roll Aggregate Ltd. regarding the gravel pit mining operation has concluded by way of agreement between the parties. The agreement does not include any financial compensation."

The city did not provide a copy of the agreement by the Citizen's deadline on Thursday.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of  Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation confirmed this week that Rock'n'Roll Aggregates Ltd. has submitted an application seeking to have the setback reduced to 20 metres. 

On background, a ministry spokesperson said the application is currently under review and once that step is completed, a 30-day public comment period is to follow with notification by the proponents provided via an advertisement in the Citizen and in the B.C. Gazette.

In previous court filings, the city claims the work came within 30 metres of the nearest home.