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July 29th, 2015 ~ Vol. 85 No. 30
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Grassy Mountain Coal project and Golf course
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
Riversdale Resources Mine Site - Grassy Mountain, Crowsnest pass
EZRA BLACK
Pass Herald Reporter
The Grassy Mountain Coal Project took a mini step forward July 21, when council gave conditional approval to locate the coal loading facility for the proposed mine on the Crowsnest Pass Golf & Country Club (CNPGCC).

Conditional approval of the site will allow Riversdale Resources Ltd. to submit a its Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) to federal and provincial regulators while leaving room for public input as the project goes through different levels of approval.
Riversdale has promised to compensate the golf course for any lost holes and facilities and last week, the mayor and council took a tour of Grassy Mountain but the trip did little to ease fears about placing a coal load out so close to town.

“I’m not in favour of putting this right in the middle of our community,” said Mayor Blair Painter. “I just don’t feel good about that. This is something we’re going to have to live with and we’re already living with [the results of] previous mining activity.”
“I would prefer they went into an industrial area,” said Councillor Shar Cartwright. “But the golf course is private and it’s a deal between two private enterprises.”

“We’re not in favour of either of the valley sites but because the golf course has grander visions of a new golf course and a new club house, they seem to be on board,” said Councillor Bill Kovach.
But with the CNPGCC and Alberta Transport both happy with the proposed load out location, council seems to be contenting itself with dictating land use and zoning conditions to exert control over the project.
continued below ...
“The rezoning and subdivision processes keeps council in the driver’s seat in terms of land use,” explained CAO Sheldon Steinke. “[And] there are built in checkpoints for public input.”

Steinke said council could put conditions on Riversdale before the company submits a subdivision application and it could direct the rezoning application like an area structure plan. Rezoning the golf course would mean changing the Land Use Bylaw, which always requires public consultation.

Steinke confirmed that it would be during the subdivision and rezoning processes that council could put conditions on the project that would mitigate noise and dust.

Development officer Jenny Wong explained that council could also draw up a concept plan that will cover noise and dust issues that would be handled at the development permit stage.

Steinke’s July 21 report to council said nine holes of the community golf course would need to be subdivided and rezoned to accommodate the proposed load out. The report said Riversdale has moved ahead with discussions with golf course executives to the point of funding discussions on the preliminary post-load out design of the course.

The golf course and Riversdale will need to submit an application to subdivide the course at some time in the future and request that the property be rezoned for industrial use.

The thought of an industrial zone north of Blairmore concerned several councillors who were unimpressed with a Sedgman Canada Ltd. report on the project’s train loading system that said there would be “no coal stored in stockpiles adjacent to the load facility and the Blairmore community.”

“All product and coal stockpiles will be located at the mine and product coal transported down as required to load each train,” said the report. “All coal will be transported to the load out facility by a covered or closed conveyor system and bins, removing the potential for winds to cause dust issues.”
continued below ...
The report did little to assuage Kovach because it compares the proposed Grassy Mountain load out to the old Greenhill Mine, which operated just north of Blairmore from 1913 to 1957.

“I’m disappointed Riversdale accepted this because I really do think they should have at least compared it to the existing facilities in the Elk Valley that we have right now, not facilities that we had in the 1950s,” he said.
“I feel really uneasy about this whole thing,” said Kovach. “This load out might not work…they still have the right to apply for coal stockpile storage and silos if that site is approved. Once they’re there and operating in this so-called dustless load out [what happens if] they find out they need silos to feed their trains?”

Patrick Thomas, director of Planning, Engineering and Operations explained that the land could have many discretionary uses once it’s rezoned as industrial. One such discretionary use is resource-processing plants but the Land Use Bylaw does not define what a resource-processing plant is.

“So that is a caution,” said Thomas. “Once it is rezoned to industrial use it is industrial use in any shape or form as put out in the Land Use Bylaw.”
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July 29th ~ Vol. 85 No. 30
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