What’s New?

Project Update

There have been some revisions to the BURNCO Aggregate Project since last fall when we presented our project at a series of Public Open Houses.

Although the components of the proposed Project remain the same, there have been refinements to the size and orientation of some of these components following more detailed engineering design of the processing area and the associated system of tunnels and above ground conveyors.  The nature, extent, and rationale for these changes are being provided to the provincial and federal government agencies responsible for reviewing the Project.  Click here to see a copy of our letter describing and illustrating the changes.

The letter also provides some of the key revisions to the Application Information Requirements that have been made in response to comments received from the Aboriginal groups, the Technical Working Group and the public.

These recent refinements do not affect the scope of the Project for the purpose of the ongoing environmental assessment.  In light of these refinements, potential air quality, noise and visual quality effects of the proposed Project have been re-modelled and re-assessed.  The proposed changes will be reflected in the revised Application Information Requirements/Environmental Impact Statement Guidelines (AIR/EIS Guidelines), and the subsequent Environmental Assessment Certificate Application/Environmental Impact Statement (EAC Application/EIS), once submitted.


Ongoing Education

BURNCO is pleased to participate in and support adult education initiatives in the community.


Public Open House Report

To view the Open House report that was prepared and submitted to the Province, please click below.

Public Open House Report – Dec 2013



Shoreline Clean Up 2013

On Saturday, September 21, 2013 the BURNCO Crew set out to clean up Hopkins Landing Beach as part of the Great Canadian Shoreline Clean-Up.  We were a team of 9 adults and 5 children armed with rubber gloves and black garbage bags set loose on the one kilometre long stretch of beach.

Comparative to last year’s clean up, we found Hopkins Landing Beach quite clean.  One of the waterfront homeowners noticed our efforts and came out to thank us, encouraged that together as a team we can ensure a healthy shoreline.

In the end we collected nearly 26 pounds of debris, the most interesting, and heavy of which was an inflatable dinghy.  Otherwise, we collected 11 cigarette butts, 1 food wrapper, 2 takeout containers, 8 beverage cans, 6 plastic grocery bags, 8 cups/plates, 5 articles of clothing, 6 pieces of construction material, and one cigarette lighter.

The Sunshine Coast Regional District arranged to have our collected garbage disposed of at the landfill.

We all came away with a greater appreciation for the importance of the proper disposal of garbage and litter so that it doesn’t put our waterfront at risk.  The children in particular were proud of their efforts to improve our coastal waters.


What’s in it for me?

So what’s in it for me?  That’s always the question top of mind when a proposal like BURNCO’s Howe Sound Sand and Gravel project comes forward.  In most cases the benefit to the proponent applying for the permits is obvious — an opportunity to do business and meet a supply demand in the market.  But oftentimes residents in the proposed area are left asking themselves ‘but what’s in it for me?’

In this situation, there are inherent benefits involved in the local extraction of sand and gravel.  Aggregate is a non-renewable resource upon which we have all come to depend.  At this point in time there isn’t an obvious alternative product for the construction of roads and bridges, or for schools and hospitals, and ultimately the foundations for our homes.  And with the high density population here in the Lower Mainland, aggregate is forever a much needed commodity.  Mining it close to where its needed is key to keeping the ultimate price of the product down, and ensuring a ready supply to support the change and growth of our communities.

In fact, 10 to 15 tonnes of aggregate are consumed for every BC resident every year.  That equates to 30 million tonnes of sand and gravel needed in the Lower Mainland every year, which is enough to fill BC Place stadium with gravel 10 times over.

At one million tonnes per year from this project BURNCO Rock Products, a fourth generation Canadian company, will only contribute to filling that need, not even come close to completely supplying it.

Although crucial to our quality of life, that need for gravel can be hard to relate to and appreciate as individuals.

So more direct benefits are important to mention.

As a landowner and local business to the Sunshine Coast, BURNCO Rock Products will be large contributor to the local tax base.

Once under the construction, BURNCO will hire trades locally whenever possible, and will also buy materials locally.

Then once operational, BURNCO will be hiring 12 full-time employees to work on-site.  Those will be 12 well paid positions that ultimately will have a positive influence on 12 families on the Sunshine Coast, as BURNCO intends to hire those positions locally.

And in addition to those 12 positions, an operation such as the one BURNCO is proposing will require further support from other private companies and individuals injecting $13 million into the local economy each year.  Barge operators to transport the product and contractors required on-site are resident to the Sunshine Coast and will benefit from this project.  Furthermore, a trickle down effect already has been, and will continue to be seen by local businesses for accommodation, meals, transportation and support.

In its 100 years in business, BURNCO has earned a reputation as a good corporate citizen.  BURNCO’s owners, management and employees care about the communities in which they own land and do business.  That caring not only means contributing to a community as one of its citizens, volunteering to make it a better place, but also financially by providing community amenities that will benefit people in the area.  BURNCO has a corporate contributions plan that will be customized to the needs of the Sunshine Coast and its neighbours.

And from an environmental perspective, BURNCO feels confident that through four years of intensive, independent environmental studies it has a very good understanding of the area and the issues.  As owners of the property near McNab Creek which has long been a heavy industrial site, and now long neglected, BURNCO has and will continue to be stewards of the area.  BURNCO has planted 60,000 trees through the property where it had been clear cut and abandoned.  As part of the project a malfunctioning spawning channel will be reconstructed to better fit the natural surroundings, ultimately enhancing fisheries in the area.  And contaminants and debris left behind by previous owners will be cleaned up and remediated.

In the end, a freshwater lake will fill the mined area, providing a place for more recreational adventures in the Howe Sound.

BC is arguably the most beautiful places to call home in the country.  Inevitably it will continue to develop and change.  BURNCO is a Canadian company who appreciates that.  The company’s employees live, work and play here.  BURNCO is committed to the communities in which it does business and has the experience and integrity needed to manage this project in an environmentally and socially responsible manner.


Shoreline Clean Up 2012

On September 22, 2012 a crew of 19 BURNCO employees and their families descended upon Gibsons Marina to volunteer in the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup.

According to the official Cleanup website, every year, tens of thousands of Canadians take action against aquatic debris by participating in the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, presented by Loblaw Companies Limited. Jointly led by the Vancouver Aquarium and WWF, this initiative focuses on educating and empowering people to make a difference through community cleanup events.  Today, the Shoreline Cleanup is one of the largest environmental events in Canada and the third largest cleanup in the world. Awareness and support for the program grows each year, dramatically increasing our impact as the public starts to better understand how shoreline litter adversely affects both aquatic life and people.

The BURNCO Crew organized the cleanup for Gibsons Harbour that stretched to either side of the marina, from the government dock to the breakwater.  Upon first inspection, the shoreline looked quite clean, however, as we got in there we found a lot of debris.

Because we had some children on our crew, our tally numbers are lower than our actual amount collected as there were things being put into garbage bags that weren’t being accounted for.  However, from what we did account, we tallied:

46 plastic bags, 37 beverage bottles, 11 glass beverage bottles, 54 beverage cans, 9 caps, lids, 6 clothing/shoes, 7 cups, plates, forks, knives, spoons, 35 food wrappers, 35 straws/stirrers, 6 toys, 4 bleach/cleaner bottles, 32 floats (styrofoam), 1 fishing line, 1 light bulb, 1 pallet, 30 plastic sheeting/tarps, 25 ropes, 3 strapping bands, 205 cigarette butts, 3 cigar tips, 2 batteries, 32 nails, 1 condom, 1 syringe, 3 feminine products, 13 metal pieces, 1 paint can

What was most evident was the amount of styrofoam that littered the coast, caught in grass and reeds and nestled between rocks in the breakwater.  Styrofoam will not decompose thus the crew was happy to be able to remove it from our coastline.

Our crew enjoyed our beautiful and sunny day in Gibsons and will most certainly be interested in doing the same again next year for the 20th anniversary of the Shoreline Clean Up.


Reclamation and Rehabilitation

Guess what Butchart Gardens in Victoria and Queen Elizabeth Gardens in Vancouver have in common? They were both former quarries.

Most British Columbians know Butchart Gardens well for its year round display of flowering plants and its ability to draw nearly a million visitors a year. What many of us don’t know is it was once a limestone quarry. Jennie Butchart may very well have been a pioneer in the realm of aggregate quarry rehabilitation. The history of the Gardens is well documented on its website www.butchartgardens.com

“In 1888, near his birthplace, Owen Sound, Ontario, the former dry goods merchant, Robert Pim Butchart, began manufacturing Portland cement. By the turn of the century he had become a highly successful pioneer in this burgeoning North American industry. Attracted to the West Coast of Canada by rich limestone deposits vital for cement production, he built a factory at Tod Inlet, on Vancouver Island. There, in 1904, he and his family established their home.

As Mr. Butchart exhausted the limestone in the quarry near their house, his enterprising wife, Jennie, conceived an unprecedented plan for refurbishing the bleak pit. From farmland nearby she requisitioned tons of top soil, had it brought to Tod Inlet by horse and cart, and used it to line the floor of the abandoned quarry. Little by little, under Jennie Butchart’s  supervision, the abandoned quarry blossomed into the spectacular Sunken Garden.

By 1908, reflecting their world travels, the Butcharts had created a Japanese Garden on the sea-side of their home. Later an Italian Garden was created on the site of their former tennis court, and a fine Rose Garden replaced a large kitchen vegetable patch in 1929.”

Queen Elizabeth Park, another of the Lower Mainland’s gems, was once a basalt quarry that provided the foundation rock for many miles of early Vancouver roads in the early 1900’s. It has since been transformed into Vancouver’s second most visited park.

More recently LaFarge Lake, located in Town Centre Park in Coquitlam, was rehabilitated from its beginnings as a sand and gravel pit to a public park in the 1970’s. The lake is stocked and accessible for public fishing.

Albert Dyck Lake in Abbotsford, once an aggregate pit, now hosts numerous national and provincial waterskiing and wakeboarding tournaments and has parking, a beach volleyball court, open grass areas and a swim area.

BURNCO is proposing to build, through the McNab Aggregate Project, a freshwater lake with similar values as the reclamation projects mentioned above.  The lake will be near both a creek and the ocean providing a beautiful landscape that has many possibilities.

For further examples of rehabilitated aggregate pits please click here.



Public Infrastructure

 Gravel is a necessary product in our society.

In fact 10-15 tonnes of gravel are needed every year for every BC resident.  That translates into 30 million tonnes required annually in Greater Vancouver and the Lower Mainland, enough to fill BC place 10 times over.  That’s a lot of gravel.  And in order to make it affordable, it needs to be mined locally, where it’s required, to meet the demand.  The Howe Sound project proposes to do just that, and by transporting it via barge BURNCO will also eliminate the need for 416 gravel trucks on the road everyday.

The majority of the need for gravel is to support public infrastructure.

Public infrastructure, it’s a term that encompasses much of what we rely on in our everyday lives.  It is highways and sidewalks, schools and playgrounds, hospitals and libraries.

BURNCO is currently providing gravel for a number of infrastructure projects in construction right now:

  • Canada Post at YVR on Fergusson Road
  • Improvements to Acadia Road School in Vancouver
  • Improvements to Queen Mary School in North Vancouver
  • Burnaby Trail Canada Way and Gilmore in Burnaby.
  • Surrey Combo Project, Concrete piles for three overpasses.
  • Triumph Ariel Radiation Lab at UBC
  • Surrey Memorial Hospital expansion at King George and 96th Avenue
  • Medical Office Building at 133rd and 96th Ave in Surrey
  • Runway work at YVR
  • 152nd Street Overpass
  • New RCMP building, BURNCO is doing all the landscape concrete

BURNCO is committed to helping BC continue to improve.  All of the product mined from this proposed site will stay local, benefitting all of the Lower Mainland.


The Issue of Trust

Trust. It is something that in relationships needs to be earned.

BURNCO understands that, and would like the opportunity to earn that trust in the Howe Sound.

The company is celebrating 100 years in business in Western Canada due in a large part to the trust instilled in them by the communities in which it operates. It is a fourth generation family owned company that has based its business on a commitment to doing the right thing.

At some of the recent public meetings surrounding the BURNCO Howe Sound Aggregate project the issue of trust has been touched upon. Many have expressed a lack of trust in industry in general due to the work done in the area in the past. BURNCO understands that.

I talked to a neighbour and strong supporter of one of BURNCO’s projects, but who when the project was first announced, was very skeptical and came to the company with a long list of questions and concerns.

The following is what she had to say about her experience with BURNCO:

“I first became aware of Burnco in 2003 when they proposed to establish a gravel mining and processing operation in our area.  Kim Titus was one of our main contacts with BURNCO.

I, and my neighbours, had quite a few concerns about their operation, e.g. water quality (how it would affect our wells and possible contaminates in the groundwater), noise levels, air quality, traffic disruption, effects on wildlife, and changes to property values.  We were fortunate to be able to tour an area that had been mined and reclaimed by BURNCO.  This area was now a residential community with a lake and a park as the main attraction.  We also visited an in operation mining and processing site.  The obvious efforts that had been made to mitigate any disruption to the local residents was very impressive.

After further meetings, including information sessions with experts in the fields of study that concerned us, most residents were willing to let the operation go ahead.  It has been 5 years now that BURNCO has been operating in our area  and there have been no detrimental affects to our lifestyle.  Our wells have not been affected.  Noise and dust levels are monitored and have been no problem.  Their operation has not affected the sale or purchase of acreages in the area.  The moose and deer have not left the area and Canada geese swim at the water recycling pond located near the wash plant.

I feel BURNCO has acted professionally and courteously to the residents living around the operation.”

Leona Gibbs

BURNCO is committed to working with residents and stakeholders surrounding its Howe Sound Aggregate project to ensure its approach is the most respectful of the people and the environment. BURNCO wants to be a good neighbour, and will work hard to gain your trust.



Welcome to the website. I am hoping this will be a place you can get information, from the source, about the proposed Howe Sound Aggregate project. It is only one piece in a larger communication plan where BURNCO would like the opportunity to talk to you about its proposed project plan. A few weeks ago BURNCO started holding public meetings. That was just the start of the process. Derek Holmes, Regional Manager for BURNCO Rock Products would like to talk to interested parties about the project and the mitigative factors that have been considered to reduce the impact to area residents and the environment. There will be more public meetings as the process continues. Derek would also like to here from you. If there are questions you have that you would like answered that you don’t find on here, or you have comments and ideas that could make for an even better project plan, please feel free to contact Derek directly. BURNCO wants to be a good neighbour, and is committed to doing what it takes to protect the environment and operate responsibly and respectfully.

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