This page will be used to answer common questions we receive before the June 26, 2012 Public Information Meeting. It will be updated from time to time as new questions are brought to our attention.
1. What is the purpose of the APP?
The objective of APP is to develop a set of recommendations supported by local government and the Aggregate Industry for new approaches that reduce conflicts and secure a long-term stable aggregate supply. The APP recommendations are more specifically intended to:
improve understanding of aggregate supply and demand;
foster better communication between the Ministry of Energy & Mines, FVRD and the Aggregate industry;
implement a ‘RED-YELLOW-GREEN’ approach to permitting aggregate operations, including identifying lands suitable for aggregate uses and lands not suitable for aggregate uses;
ensure a sustainable supply of aggregate for the long term;
develop a new approach for decision-making respecting aggregate management; and
provide a model that could be used in other jurisdictions in the Province.
More information about the purpose of the APP can be found in the 2009 APP Recommendations Report.
2. How will you notify residents of the June 26 2012 Public Information Meeting?
The public will be notified of the June 26, 2012 Public Information Meeting (7:00 PM, Evergreen Hall, 9291 Corbould Street, Chilliwack BC) through various means:
| Abbotsford Mission Times
|| June 14 & 21|
| Abbotsford News
|| June 14 & 21|
| Agassiz Harrison Observer
|| June 15 & 22|
| Chilliwack Progress
|| June 14 & 21|
| Chilliwack Times
|| June 14 & 21|
| Hope Standard
|| June 13 & 20|
| Mission City Record
|| June 14 & 21|
Notice has been emailed directly to community groups known to FVRD and individuals from whom we have received correspondence regarding the APP.
Notice is posted on FVRD’s web page and bulletin boards.
The meeting will be advertised on the sign along Lougheed Highway at FVRD’s Deroche Office from June 19 to June 27.
3. Would implementation of APP recommendations increase the amount of land available for gravel removal? No. One of the primary objectives of APP was to identify lands that are not suitable for future gravel operations. Implementation of the APP recommendations would prohibit future industrial/commercial gravel operations in “Red” areas, which amount to about 77,500 hectares of land in the Electoral Areas of the Fraser Valley Regional District. Accordingly, the overall land base available for industrial/commercial gravel removal would be reduced.
4. How were the Red-Yellow-Green areas determined and what do they mean?
Red-Yellow-Green APP mapping designations for the FVRD’s Electoral Areas received support in principle from the FVRD Board on May 23, 2012. This mapping was developed through negotiations between the Aggregate Producers Association of BC, FVRD Board Representatives, and the Ministry of Energy & Mines. Negotiations were informed by a variety of data and technical information. Many interests were considered in this context, including the location of gravel deposits, proximity and impacts of gravel operations on our communities, existing and proposed mine sites, land uses, environmental impacts, cultural features, input received from community members and other public consultation opportunities to date, and many other considerations.
The meaning of the Red, Yellow and Green designations is outlined in the March 31, 2009 APP Recommendations Report.
5. Are Red-Yellow-Green designations applied to both crown and private land?
Yes. Crown lands are subject to local government bylaws just the same as private lands except that local government bylaws – including zoning bylaws – do not bind the use of crown land by the Crown. However, bylaws do apply to third party users of Crown land (i.e. lessees).
6. Where can I find copies of the draft Red-Yellow-Green maps?
Mapping can be downloaded from the FVRD web page at: http://www.fvrd.bc.ca/InsidetheFVRD/CommunityPlanning/Pages/APP.aspx
Print copies are available upon request. Large format maps will be displayed at the in the 4th Floor Lobby of the FVRD offices at 45950 Cheam Avenue, Chilliwack, BC until at least June 27, 2012.
7. How will the APP recommendations protect our watersheds?
Provincial and federal legislation, regulation and processes for protecting watersheds are not affected by the APP. They would not be reduced in any way by the implementation of APP recommendations. Implementation of the recommendations would establish “Red” areas where industrial/commercial gravel operations would be prohibited. “Red” areas include designated Community Watersheds and portions of several sensitive watersheds. In addition, the FVRD Board has authorized the development of a new soil removal bylaw for the Electoral Areas. This bylaw presents opportunities to improve watershed protection by expanding the area of applicability of the bylaw, improving bylaw provisions related to the protection of water, and establishing annual fees on gravel removal that can support monitoring and enforcement.
8. How will the APP recommendations benefit electoral area communities?
Implementation of APP recommendations would benefit the region and individual local communities in a variety of ways. Local communities would benefit from the establishment of ”Red” areas where new gravel operations would not be permitted. This would improve certainty for communities and industry. It should be noted that existing gravel operations in “Red” areas will require an FVRD Soil Removal Permit in the event one is not currently in place. As well, an annual fee on gravel removal would enable improved administration, monitoring and enforcement of FVRDs soil bylaws and other pertinent regulations. It would also shift these costs from the local taxpayer to the industry. In addition, FVRD is developing a new Soil Removal Bylaw that will more clearly set out conditions and requirements with respect to any new Soil Removal Permits that will be issued in our Electoral Areas. An improved bylaw will reduce the impact of gravel operations on surrounding communities.
APP Recommendations attempt to reduce industry impacts to local areas without constraining the long-term supply of gravel to the extent that forecasted demand would be unmet. A long-term supply of gravel is important to the regional economy. For example, about two-thirds of gravel produced is purchased by governments for the maintenance of public infrastructure, so the cost of gravel impacts the cost of public services. As well, gravel costs amount to about 2% of the purchase price of a new home.
9. What consultation will occur before the FVRD Board makes a decision about the Aggregate Pilot Project?
Since the APP recommendations were submitted to FVRD for consideration in 2009, there have been several opportunities for the public to provide feedback. Four community meetings were held in 2010. They were followed by various stakeholder meetings and dialogue with community groups. The June 26, 2012 Public Information Meeting is the latest opportunity for the FVRD to engage with the public around APP. As well, the Board continues to receive feedback from the public regarding APP. As has been envisioned since the inception of APP, there will be further opportunities for public engagement if the process moves forward and bylaws are drafted for consideration by the FVRD Board as required by law and public policy considerations.
10. Would annual fees collected from gravel operations go into FVRD’s general revenue and be spent elsewhere? No. Regional Districts have very discrete and prescriptive rules regarding how funds can be expended. The Local Government Act requires that funds must remain within the service for which they were collected, in this context the Soil Removal Service, which is an entirely separate service apart from all other services that the FVRD delivers. The FVRD cannot collect annual fees on gravel removal and spend these revenues on unrelated activities or other services. Fees collected under this bylaw must be directly related to the costs associated with administering this service, inclusive of enforcement costs.
11. Would implementation of the APP recommendations reduce provincial or federal standards that are currently in place to protect the environment?
No. Implementation of APP would not change any provincial or federal laws, regulations or practices respecting gravel removal that are currently in place to protect the environment. The senior levels of government will continue to have authority in these areas alongside the authority that the FVRD is afforded under the Local Government Act.
12. Do the APP recommendations represent a radical change in the way gravel operations are approved and regulated?
No. While the APP recommendations do include new and significant changes with respect to identifying areas of prohibition, they are not a radical departure from current practices in terms of Permit requirements. Gravel operations outside "Red" areas would still need a Mines Permit from the Ministry of Energy & Mines. The provincial and federal legislation, regulations and processes that apply now would continue to apply. Furthermore, a Soil Removal Permit from FVRD would also be required. As previously noted, the FVRD is currently developing a new soil removal bylaw. It is expected that this new bylaw will more effectively address nuisance impacts associated with gravel removal and processing such as noise and dust.
13. Will implementation of APP recommendations improve the ability of the Regional District to enforce bylaws that apply to gravel operations?
Another objective of APP is to find a means to avoid conflicts around gravel operations especially where conflicts lead to costly and protracted litigation between the FVRD and industry. The FVRD Board has authorized the development of a new soil removal bylaw. It is anticipated that the new bylaw will include a variety of enhancements over the existing bylaw that will improve enforceability and thereby endeavour to avoid litigation. Most importantly, the bylaw is expected to include an annual fee on gravel removal that will support resources for monitoring and enforcement that do not currently exist. The fee would provide a fairer basis for distributing costs for enforcement and would shift the burden off electoral area taxpayers and on to industry. It is also expected that the new bylaw will assist enforcement efforts by more clearly setting out more prescriptive permit conditions in “community areas” and more performance based permit requirements in areas outside of “community areas”. These areas are currently envisioned as those areas generally identified under existing Official Community Plans in addition to other community areas that will be specified.
14. Why were APP meetings conducted “behind closed doors”?
FVRD was invited by the Minister of Mines to participate with the Ministry and the Aggregate Producers of BC in an Aggregate Pilot Project for the Region. As previously set out, the objective of APP is to develop a set of recommendations supported by local government and the Aggregate Industry for new approaches that reduce conflicts and secure a long-term stable aggregate supply. It was at the direction of the Minister that local government, the ministry and industry work together to develop recommendations, inclusive of APP mapping designations in order to achieve the stated purpose and objectives of APP. These types of discussions are typically undertaken privately between the parties to the negotiations. The FVRD has been at the table to represent the interests of local government and our communities. Input received from the public over time has certainly assisted in informing these discussions. It has always been envisioned that public consultation would follow once the recommendations and APP mapping designations were agreed to in principle which is where we find ourselves today.
It should also be noted that once the Minister submitted the APP recommendations to the FVRD Board for consideration, the FVRD distributed them widely and held public meetings to solicit input. The FVRD engaged in broad discussions with public and stakeholder groups and received extensive feedback from electoral area communities that has informed the FVRD Board’s review of the APP recommendations and the development of Red-Yellow-Green mapping thus far. Please also be aware that any Closed FVRD Board Meetings with respect to APP have been done in accordance with the Closed Meeting provisions set out in the Community Charter.
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