Co-Chairs Walter Raupach and Victor Froese did some follow-up investigation
to determine whether Kirkness was taking new initiatives related to his gravel
operations on Vedder Mountain. We contacted the City of Chilliwack, the
Ministry of Forests, Lands & Natural Resources (which deals with crown lands),
and the Ministry of Mines to see if any new applications had been filed.
City of Chilliwack
We had earlier discovered that Kirkness had filed an application to build a
“private driveway” up Vedder Mountain from Vedder Mountain Road to a
proposed “single family dwelling”. Through Freedom of Information (FOI) we
requested and received a copy of the application. The route was very similar to
the one filed to build the gravel conveyor so we provided the exact wording from
the earlier plan to the City. We also reminded the City of the conditions they had
placed on developments on the mountain. Eventually Kirkness withdrew the
application according to Glen White.
Ministry of Forests, Lands & Natural Resources (formerly ILMB)
We contacted Kevin Walker to determine what applications from Kirkness
they may have received. He indicated Kirkness had not submitted any new
applications however he still had a permit which allowed him to construct an
access road to his private property from the Vedder Forest Service Road (FSR).
He did point out that “there were concerns both from the Ts’elxweyeqw Tribe and
Chilliwack District staff”.
Ministry of Mines
Walter wrote a memo to Eddy Taje, the Inspector of Mines, which inquired as to
possible pending applications related to the Kirkness quarry. A follow-up was
required to the August 2012 question in order to get a response. The response
was: “We have no new applications”.
While it appears that when we made our inquiries there were no new
applications, we need to remain vigilant. The application process is such that
new initiatives can be filed by the proponent at any time; withdrawn proposals
are only on “hold”, they are not dead. We will again file a FOI with the City in
regards to Kirkness’s 2010 Soil Removal permits; this continues our practice of
requesting that information which the City withholds from us for two years.
Vedder Mountain Preservation Group will continue to keep its ears to the ground
about new developments which threaten us and our environment.