With the tenure licence of Whistler Aggregates Ltd. in Cheakamus Crossing having expired March 1, the company is now operating on a month-to-month basis until the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (MFLNRO) makes a final decision on renewal.
Frank Silveri, the owner of the Whistler Aggregates asphalt plant, has applied for a 30-year lease extension, which the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) officially opposed on March 7.
In a March 16 letter to the MFLNRO, Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden pointed out that material presented to the RMOW in the renewal application doesn't include a proposed expansion area, updated land survey, operations plan or environmental plan for the proposed tenure.
"The materials also do not include any studies or information supporting the demand or ongoing need for the quarrying activities and asphalt plant, or alternatives that may be considered," Wilhelm-Morden wrote.
An aerial photo of the site included with the letter shows that quarrying activities have taken place outside of the originally licensed zone, and that a 2009 expansion area is largely outside of the RMOW's Industrial Processing One zone, which permits the quarrying activities to occur.
The letter notes that rock quarrying, and gravel and aggregate processing was first supported by the RMOW in 1984, when the area in question was far removed from residential neighbourhoods.
Today there are more than 240 homes and 800 residents living in Cheakamus Crossing, as well as numerous recreational opportunities, and the RMOW will be doing a "major community planning study" looking at future housing options in the area, Wilhelm-Morden added.
"Clearly, the context for the uses that have occurred under the licensing that was supported has changed dramatically," she wrote.
"In conclusion, the RMOW urges the Province to decline renewal of this application in light of the significant change in circumstances and the urgent need for housing."
As an alternative, Wilhelm-Morden suggested the parties work together to relocate the plant.
"As part of this consideration, it is important to note that the asphalt plant is a mobile operation," she wrote. "A one-year tenure extension period would provide time needed to identify potential suitable locations."
The MFLNRO is limited in the information it can give out during the election period, a spokesperson said, adding that there is no timeline for a decision to be made.
The ministry received 52 letters and emails regarding the application during a public comment period.