News » Whistler

Quarry expansion plan stems from 2009

Two applications, two governments asked for their approvals



The paperwork for the expansion of the basalt quarry at Cheakamus Crossing dates back to last year, Bill Brown, manager of community planning for the municipality, confirmed this week.

While many people were surprised to see the rezoning application for the quarry last week, Brown said the plans were first launched in 2009 when Whistler Aggregates approached the municipality for a 5.7-hectare expansion on to Crown Land.

At that time, Whistler Aggregates, a Burnaby-based company owned by Frank Silveri, had struck a formal agreement with the province to use the extra slice of land between September 2009 and September 2011.

The company, however, also needed rezoning approval from the municipality. While the actual quarry is a provincial responsibility, "the big gravel crushing machinery is a municipal responsibility," Brown said.

Later that year, during a meeting on Nov. 3, 2009, council unanimously agreed to move Whistler Aggregates' rezoning application forward without any discussion.

The municipality has not yet approved the 5.7-hectare expansion, however.

"Since that time the application has evolved," Brown confirmed in an e-mail this week.

Municipal staff is now working on a second application where the owner has asked for an additional 7.9-hectares to be added to the southern end of the quarry pit.

Staff plans to recommend an expansion smaller than 7.9-hectares, said Brown.

"A portion of the 7.9-hecatre expansion is required for the future location of the asphalt plant and everything that goes with it such as stock piles of raw materials, truck manoeuvring areas and propane storage," said Brown. "In addition, part will become buffer and part may be quarried in the future."

He added that the two-year time line is to allow the owner and the municipality to get the proper zoning in place.

Currently, the basalt quarry covers 13 hectares. Blasting takes place approximately every three months during the construction season.

Brown said staff at municipal hall is hammering out the revised paperwork because they understand Silveri plans to go to the province to ask for the 7.9-hectare expansion on top of the already-granted 5.7 hectares.

Silveri also owns Alpine Paving, the company operating the asphalt plant by Cheakamus Crossing.

"The bottom line is that Whistler Aggregates is not finished with the province yet," Brown said in an e-mail.

But Ross Douglas, section head for the province's Integrated Land Management Bureau, stated this week that his office has not received any new requests from Whistler Aggregates.

Meanwhile Silveri did not return phone calls this week from Pique Newsmagazine.

The quarry expansion raised several eyebrows at MY Millennium Place last week during the public council meeting.

In a 3-3 vote, Whistler council sent the contentious report back to staff with expectations to get the revised proposal back in two weeks time. Among council's concerns was the changing numbers around the quarry expansion.

"Staff are now considering council's discussion and will return to council with a revised recommendation," said Brown.

The new report will likely come before council at the next public meeting on Aug. 17 at MY Millennium Place.