By Korie Marshall

A three-year temporary permit that allowed the operation of a concrete plant, gravel washing and screening, and commercial trucking operation on a property off Mountain View Road expired on March 17th. Robson Valley Construction has applied to rezone the property, but the Regional District Board is waiting for a covenant to be registered on the property before considering final reading.

Ken Starchuck, Area H Director for the Fraser-Fort George Regional District, did not want to comment until the covenant requirements were finalized.

The rezoning, which would allow for the permanent operation of the concrete plant and trucking business, was up for final reading at the February meeting, but the board decided to defer the final vote until the covenant is registered on the property, which could impose conditions other than those allowed by the zoning bylaw.

A letter from Viktor Bugaychuck, owner of Robson Valley Construction, dated just before the board’s February meeting, suggested conditions he’d be willing to agree to. Terry McEachen, General Manager of Development Services for the regional district, confirmed they are discussing hours of operation, limiting crushing or asphalt production, and keeping dust to a minimum. McEachen said he wasn’t at liberty to discuss whether the covenant would include other conditions of the original temporary use permit, such as noise, the number of employees onsite and addressing potential drainage into the Fraser River. He did however confirm that as a signatory to the covenant, the Regional District would be able to enforce its provisions.

Bugaychuck’s letter to the board suggested he be allowed longer operating hours than were allowed under the temporary use permit, as well as a contingency to notify neighbours of a change in hours in case of “a contract or an emergency pour.”

Comments from neighbours at the November 26th public hearing opposed to the rezoning raised concerns about health effects from dust, speed and volume of commercial traffic on a residential road, local property values being affected, that the business has expanded since the new owners took over in recent years, and that conditions of the temporary use permit are not being followed.

Comments from neighbours and local businesses in favour of the zoning say the business is a good alternative and a benefit to the community and other local businesses, the property cannot be used for residential anyway, and closing the business would hurt the local economy.

The property is currently zoned Rural 1 (Ru1), which does not allow for a concrete plant and trucking business, but it is designated as Heavy Industrial (INF/H) in the Official Community Plan, which does support those uses.