HUNTSVILLE – Yearley Road may soon have a new pit.
Chris Marshall, director of planning and sustainability for the Town of Huntsville, presented a report at a Feb. 13 planning committee meeting that recommended the rezoning of 1223 Yearley Rd. from rural to a combination of gravel pit and conservation land.
“The official plan requires a number of things to be taken into account, but it certainly encourages new gravel pits,” said Marshall. “As long as the environmental and social impact around the pit are taken into account.”
The proposed pit would be located near the Stisted Landfill site and another pit operated by the District of Muskoka.
The property has a historic pit on it and part of it was previously extracted, though the new proposal would focus on extracting resources from a different part of the property.
While the town is responsible for considering whether the property can be rezoned for a sand and gravel pit, the Ministry of Natural Resources has the final say in whether the property can actually be used for that purpose, said Marshall. He said approval through the ministry would require a slew of regulations and additional requirements.
Marshall noted that both the town and district official plans as well as the provincial policy statement support the creation of pits and extraction of natural resources from areas such as this.
“The Provincial Policy Statement protects gravel pits as an important resource for the community,” said Marshall. “It actually discourages any development around gravel pits that will hurt their long-term viability.”
The applicant’s consultant noted that an existing neighbour has stated he or she does not have an issue with the rezoning.
However, Marshall circulated a letter before the meeting from an abutting property owner who objects to the rezoning application.
The abutting property owner has 86 acres of land near the proposed pit and intends to build an off-water cottage on the site. He said he was “drawn to the size of the property to ensure the peace and quiet that the large parcel provides.” He said the close proximity of the proposed pit would likely cause noise problems.
“I am also very concerned with the impact that the proposed gravel pit will have on the value of my property,” he wrote.
If the pit is approved, the operator would be allowed to remove about 20,000 tonnes of gravel and sand each year. About two trucks would access the site per day.
Marshall added that the applicant is not proposing to crush anything on-site, though it would be a permitted use.
The town would get a six-cent royalty per tonne removed from the pit. Committee approved the rezoning application and forwarded it to council for consideration.