Meeting set to discuss contentious Cowichan gravel application

A public meeting on the controversial proposal for a rock quarry and gravel pit on Richards Trail has been scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 7, starting at 7 p.m. The Pastula family, who are applying for the permit to harvest gravel from their farm, are hosting the meeting as part of their application to the Ministry of Energy and Mines.

Nearby residents have voiced concern already about the idea and this meeting is aimed at giving the community more official information about the potential operation.

The meeting will be held at the Westholme School Society Building at 2558 Mt. Sicker Rd.

The application to the Ministry concerns blasting rock at Pastula Farms at 7303 Richards Trail and trucking gravel from the site.

A petition has been signed by close to 400 people expressing their opposition to the rock quarry. It can be found at http://tinyurl. com/richardstrail.

A group called the Richards Trail Committee has been set up to fight the plan.

The Municipality of North Cowichan voted in August to express their disapproval to the Ministry, citing concerns about the effect on the roadway and surrounding environment.

According to the Richards Trail Committee, concerns about the permit include:

the impact of the noise of blasting every day on both residents and animals as well as some homebased businesses

concern about increased traffic and safety from tandem trucks hauling heavy material along a narrow, country road

impact of increased industrial traffic on home-based tourism and recreational use

possible negative impact on aquifers, area drinking water and private wells as well as Richards Creek and the Somenos watershed.

lowering of property values and decrease in the natural beauty of the area wider concerns about the precedent set