North Cowichan neighbours oppose mine permit for farm cistern dig

While neighbours are expressing concerns about a proposed rock quarry on a Richards Trail property, the applicant is insisting that she is just trying to dig a cistern for her farm and needs a mining permit to move forward. Catherine Pastula of Pastula Farms said she has been digging the cistern for three or four years and selling some of the gravel it produces, but because of the amount of gravel she is selling, she has been told by the Municipality of North Cowichan that she requires a quarry permit.

"We are building a water cistern because we need to have water and we’ve been encouraged as a farm to do this," Pastula explained.

Pastula said that she doesn’t sell all the gravel that results, and that she has only blasted twice in the last year. Despite her application for a quarry permit, there won’t be any additional blasting on her site, nor any increase in hauling.

"Nothing’s going to change," she said.

At the heart of the dispute between Pastula and the neighbours who oppose the permit is the nature of Richards Trail. Pastula says it is a commercial highway, while the Save Richards Trail Committee says it is a quiet rural road that attracts tourists. Committee spokesperson Peter Morris noted that the permit would allow the farm to remove 25,000 tonnes of gravel per year, which, at an estimated 10 or 11 tonnes per dump truck, would drastically increase industrial traffic.

"Richards Trail was never designed for that use," he said.

The trail is very popular with cyclists, Morris noted, adding that he counted no fewer than 100 passing his home last Sunday. He also said that Pastula has no need for a cistern on her property, and that there are already many sand and gravel operations in the Cowichan Valley, and another one just isn’t necessary.

The Save Richards Trail Committee is also concerned about noise from blasting, which the permit would allow to run every day between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., the possible impact on the aquifer and the Somenos watershed, the decrease of property values, and the destruction of the Richards Mountain landscape.

The committee will present a petition to North Cowichan council next Wednesday, and will ask the municipality to oppose the permit application, which is before the Ministry of Energy and Mines. "It’s not a safe thing to have here," Morris said. "It’s not a bonus for the environment or eco-tourism."

Pastula countered that Richards Trail was an agricultural area long before any of the opposed residents bought property there, and that the cistern is a necessary part of running her farm.

"They moved here after the fact," she said. "Why do you move into a farm area when you don’t want to live beside a farm?"

Just Posted

Shawnigan Hills parkrun report for Nov. 30

Seven personal bests set in chilly conditions

VIDEO: Celebrate magic of the holidays as Winter Harp returns to Cowichan Sunday

Wonderful Winter Harp is back at the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre on… Continue reading

VIMC will not proceed with controversial construction plans; going to legal action

North Cowichan says Monday’s public hearing will go ahead anyway

Duncan Christmas Kick-Off a hit

The City of Duncan lit up for the season with their annual… Continue reading

‘Things haven’t changed enough:’ Ecole Polytechnique anniversary prompts reflection

Fourteen women were fatally shot by a gunman at the Montreal school on Dec. 6, 1989

Bear raids freezer, gorges on Island family’s Christmas baking

Hungry bruin virtually ignored meat and fish, focused, instead, on the sweets

B.C. pharmaceutical company’s stocks double in value after successful lupus drug trial

More than 40 per cent of patients using voclosporin saw improvements in kidney function

Second warning on romaine lettuce from California region as another E. coli case reported

Two cases of E. coli have been reported in relation to the illness in the U.S.

B.C. Transit finds 28 used fareboxes online, saves $300,000

‘Someone joked maybe we can buy used fareboxes on eBay,’ CEO says

Many of Canada’s working poor can’t afford lawyers, don’t qualify for legal aid

One lawyer says many people earn too much to qualify for legal aid, but not enough to really live on

Economy lost 71,200 jobs in November, unemployment rate climbs to 5.9%

Jobless rate is at its highest since August 2018, when it hit 6%

BC Hydro reservoirs see record low rain across Vancouver Island

Hydro electric watersheds are at a third of their normal levels

Most Read