MPC approves management plan
Thursday, Sep 27, 2012 06:00 am
Bighorn’s Municipal Planning Commission approved Lafarge’s construction management plan last week.
A construction management plan (CMP) approved by the MPC last Wednesday (Sept. 19), was one of the conditions of the plant’s development permit, which was approved in July.
Rather than submit a CMP for each stage of development, Lafarge chose to create one over-arching plan for the entire project, according to MD Development Officer Janice Thompson.
“The plan is quite good and organized and addresses a lot of the items the MPC asked to be addressed. It looks like everything is in there,” Thompson said.
However, Thompson said after reviewing the plan, MD staff did have some concerns.
Those concerns led staff to recommend the plan be approved with four conditions:
MPC must approve any changes or updates to the plan;
any violations of the development permit or construction management plan will result in a stop work order until the violation has been fixed;
separate development permit applications are required outside of Lafarge’s main lease at Exshaw;
no trees or bush will be cleared from Alberta Transportation’s right of way along Highway 1A without consent from the province.
Along with those four conditions, Thompson said, one of the main concerns were the seven proposed laydown areas.
These areas, which will be used to store parts and materials required for construction, were not in the original development permit application, Thompson said.
As a result, each laydown area will require a separate permit.
Exshaw plant manager Heinz Knopfel said the laydown areas would only be used until construction was complete. Once the kiln line is installed, open storage areas would be reclaimed.
“The intent is to return laydown areas to a sustainable state as required by (Sustainble Resource Development),” Knopfel said. “It’s not our intent to turn these into permanent storage areas.”
Knopfel said Lafarge has to get permission from AESRD before a change of use in its leases.
Ron Braun, vice-president of projects for Lafarge’s western region, said discussions with the province – Alberta Transportation, Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development – in regards to the laydown areas are ongoing and the applications would likely come to the MPC next spring.
Lafarge is proposing to put one of the laydown areas near its Grotto Creek Quarry at Gap Lake. It’s in an area that the Eastern Bow Valley Wildlife Corridor study has identified as high-value wildlife habitat, according to MPC member Paul Ryan, also an MD councillor. He asked if Lafarge would need an environmental assessment for that laydown area.
Ryan also pointed out a policy statement in the study which highlighted the importance of following through with “due diligence when it comes to environmental concerns.”
Brad Watson, environmental co-ordinator for the Exshaw plant, said the study, which is being done by Lafarge and the World Wildlife Fund, is ongoing and the potential sensitivity of that area is part of the conversation with the province.
“This is part of the conversation we are having with AESRD, to evaluate these laydown areas and get their feedback on the sensitivity,” Watson said. “We’ll take extra precautions and stay away from it if we can.”
Watson added the conversation includes AESRD wildlife biologist Jon Jorgenson.
Ryan said he was to pleased to hear Lafarge was working with AESRD in regards to that proposed area.
“That area is locally famous for being a smorgasbord for grizzly bears and black bears before they go in for their winter nap,” Ryan said.
As laydown areas are not identified as a permitted use in the Natural Resource Extraction District (NR), Ryan said the proposed storage areas required due consideration by the MPC.
Thompson said the MPC could expect to see separate applications for the laydown areas at a future date.
Lafarge will not be required to apply for two laydown areas already in use, such as the area immediately east of the plant.
Thompson said the CMP also addresses concerns such as dust or mud falling or being blown from vehicles leaving the site; weed control; temporary offices and lunchrooms; parking and work hours.