Debbie and Ed Marriott believe their idyllic lifestyle could be rocked.
The Marriotts are the main opponents to a proposed Spallumcheen rock quarry, which would be located, according to Ed, 250 metres from their neighbouring property on Back Enderby Road.
On Wednesday, at a public meeting in Armstrong’s Odd Fellows Hall, organized by the ministry of mines, along with quarry applicant Bruce Schartner of Bee-Jay’s Excavating Ltd., the Marriotts made their case.
“This is our quality of life,” said Debbie Marriott, fighting back tears and holding a large photo album of letters of support for her neighbours. “Why do we need another one (quarry)? My goal is no quarry at all.”
Added Ed Marriott, who has worked in the rock business for 30 years: “It’s a health hazard to us.”
The Marriotts were joined by close to 50 supporters for the near three-hour meeting, mandatorily called by the ministry of mines after they received more than six complaints to Bee-Jay’s Excavating’s application.
The proposal calls for the quarry to operate 200 days a year, five days a week, Monday to Friday, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Eric Beresford, a mining consultant with 26 years experience, hired by the applicant, said there would be two trucks per day and that blasting would occur “two, maybe three, times per year.”
He said the products that would be taken off the property would be used for erosion control, bank stabilization and road and finishing bases.
Residents are concerned about noise and dust coming from the quarry.
Frank Hassard said the applicant, who owns the property, “picked the worst spot for a neighbourhood conflict you could possibly pick.”
Schartner was asked if he could pick another site on the property for the quarry that’s “safer, less stressful and less disruptive for the neighbours.”
“We’re trying to be considerate to all the neighbours and balance everything,” said Schartner.
The property is zoned large holding and, when brought up, led to a discussion about the interpretation of the township’s large holding zoning bylaw.
Resident Marc Reinarz argued that once the rock is taken out of the ground, crushed and transported to another site, it’s industrial processing and not mining, which he believes is not allowed under the bylaw.
“Resource use is defined in the bylaw as use of a lot providing for conservation, management and extraction of the primary products, mineral and other resource materials,” he said.
Township council, which has no jurisidiction over the application, recently passed a motion calling for the ministry to deny Bee-Jay’s Excavatings application, or, if they approved it, to approve it with eight conditions.
Tom Charles, an inspector with the ministry of mines, said the council motion carried “no weight at all.”
“Unless they have an act signed by the ministry of energy and mines, and the ministry of community services,” said Charles. “If they have a signed agreement, then we have to follow that.”
Charles vowed that the ministry would be diligent in monitoring the quarry.
Resident Shirley Buksa told Charles that the ministry should “listen to us taxpayers.”
“We’re many taxpayers, he’s just one,” said Buksa. “You have to consider all of us.”
Charles said he would review all of the issues raised from the public meeting. He did not say how long it would be, if at all, before the applicant’s permit is issued.