By: Korie Marshall

Residents on Mountain View Road have been waiting to see if a covenant for the property on the corner of Bevier and Mountain View will be on this week’s agenda at the Regional District, and whether the Board will continue with the rezoning without another public hearing. A covenant would place legal restrictions on how the business can operate; for example, limiting hours of operation.

But rezoning may not be the only issue facing Robson Valley Construction over their concrete plant.

Philip Marsh, who owns two properties that Robson Valley Construction trucks drive through to access their gravel, says he is planning to sell one of his two pieces of property, and he has noticed there is no record of an easement through the section closest to the Fraser River.

“It happens all the time,” Marsh says, “people put easements in place but they are not surveyed, and then people don’t know where they actually go. And then they find out they don’t have legal access to the area they thought they had.”

Marsh says he is not against business in any way, but the situation with the concrete plant has never been ideal.
“They drive right through my front yard, about 50 feet from my house.” He says that whoever buys the piece of property he is selling may choose to give Robson Valley Construction an easement, to access their gravel bar. But Marsh thinks it may be a moot point, if the company’s gravel rights are not renewed next year. He thinks the only reason the gravel plant is where it is, is because of access to washed gravel from the sandbar in the Fraser River. Robson Valley Construction’s permit allows them to extract gravel until April 30 of each year, but the current permit expires in 2015.

When asked if Robson Valley Construction was planning to renew their gravel permit, Lisa Bugaychuk, spokesperson for the company told the Goat they “are not interested in publishing anything.”

The concrete plant property is currently zoned Rural 1 (R1), which does not allow for a concrete plant and trucking business. The Regional District had issued a three-year temporary use permit, but it expired on March 17th of this year. Robson Valley Construction has applied to rezone, and the Regional District is waiting for a covenant to be registered on the property before considering final reading.

Ken Starchuck, Director for Area H, confirmed the covenant was sent to Robson Valley Construction, but says it could take a few weeks for the document to be registered on the title. A covenant is not normally made public until after it is registered. Starchuk says if it hasn’t been registered by May 15th, the day of the Board meeting, then it won’t be on the agenda, and he expects the issue would be carried forward to the June meeting.

At the public hearing for rezoning, some local businesses including the McBride Community Forest spoke in favour of the concrete business as a benefit to the community and other businesses. Some residents on Mountain View Road including Denis King and Diane Smith have cited a number of concerns, not only with the rezoning but also with the Regional District’s handling of the issue. King says he’s been told the covenant has been signed, but that it is not yet public, so he doesn’t know what terms have been agreed to.

When asked if the Regional District Board was likely to vote on the issue if the covenant is registered and added to this week’s board agenda, Director Starchuck said “I can’t really speculate on how the rest of the board might vote on the fourth reading.”

A zoning bylaw amendment information item is already part of the agenda package, but will not be voted on by the board unless the covenant is added to the report – which could still occur.