Through the course of the Public Information Sessions in Squamish, Gibsons and West Vancouver we had the opportunity to speak to many people interested in the Project and one of the questions we heard often was, “Why here? Can’t you get gravel somewhere else?”. We fully understand and respect that this question stems from people’s love and appreciation for the beauty of the area. We appreciate it as well, just as we appreciate the special attributes of every area where we operate. One reason our employees live where they do is because of their appreciation for their environment whether that be the unending vistas of wheat and canola fields in the prairies, the rolling hills and mountains of the Foothills and Rockies, the lush green valley of the Okanagan or the natural beauty of the Lower Mainland and Howe Sound. With over 100 years of operations under our belt we have always, and will always continue to respect the areas where we operate. We feel confident we can co-exist within all of our natural environments, make respectful, environmentally sensitive interim use of our sites, and leave behind lands in either as good or better condition than we found them. And that is definitely the case in this Project.
So ultimately the answer to that question is yes, we can get gravel elsewhere, and we will, but that doesn’t negate our commitment to this Project as well. Sourcing good gravel deposits is always top of mind for BURNCO. In fact as soon as we permit one project we are on the lookout for another in order to meet the constant demand for gravel and ensure a steady supply of aggregate to the market. To put it into perspective, the volume of aggregate we are applying to mine through this project is up to 20 million tonnes, which by itself wouldn’t even fulfill the need required in the Lower Mainland for one year — 30 million tonnes. So that said, we are seeking other locations, and take many different factors into consideration through the process. Unfortunately gravel isn’t found everywhere. And once a deposit is covered by development, it is lost forever thus limiting from where we can access it.
In respect to this Project, there are many reasons this particular site was chosen, reasons we believe eliminate concerns that we might encounter elsewhere. It is because of these reasons that we have pursued this project, engaging independent scientists to study the area to help us best understand the issues, and develop a project we can take pride in.
- The area from which the aggregates are proposed to be extracted is a flat terrain, easily concealed by a berm and tree buffer meaning the excavation area will not be seen (it’s not on the side of a mountain) from any perspective other than by air.
- The processing area on site can also be concealed by three layers of buffer – 50 foot tall stockpiles, 30 foot tall berm, and 150 foot tall existing tree buffer which means the noise from the site will not be significant.
- The deposit is amid groundwater which means we can extract it with a floating clam shell dredge and bring the product up wet mitigating the dust we have in other operations.
- Existing BC Hydro transmission lines are on-site which means we can run our machinery electrically reducing greenhouse gas emissions that would be present on another site, also contributing to a reduction in noise.
- The processed gravel will be shipped to market via barge, an option we don’t have at most sites we consider, but one that makes a big difference from the perspective of greenhouse gas emissions, efficiency and cost. An inland site would require 416 trucks per every barge load of gravel, that’s a lot of truck traffic.
- The proximity of the site to Vancouver and the Lower Mainland means the final cost of the gravel used to build our roads, schools, hospitals and homes will be lower.
This site adjacent to McNab Creek is one that when we purchased it had been a location of heavy industrial use for over 100 years. We have already started the clean-up of the land, in fact we recently barged out over 1,000 tires that were strewn about by previous owners. We believe we can continue to have a major impact on the clean-up of our site, and influence future uses of the area at reclamation when all we’ll leave behind is a fresh water lake.
As a fourth generation, private, Canadian company we feel confident we are the right company to pursue this project. We are Canadians committed to protecting the beauty of our country while providing a much needed product to help us continue to grow and fuel our economy.