November 25, 2013
We requested information through Freedom of Interest (FOI) channels regarding the amount of gravel removed by Kirkness Pacific Holdings Ltd/Western Explosives relative to his mining permit Q-7-76 issued by the Ministry of Energy and Mines. The permit states: ”Maximum production shall not exceed 245,000 Tonnes (or 112,903 cubic meters) in a calendar year.”(Section 15 (a)). The audited record shows that for 2010 some 317,753.78 cubic meters were removed; almost 3 times his permit.
The City of Chilliwack has a Soil Removal and Deposit Bylaw 1989, No. 1313 which requires Kirkness to obtain a permit to move materials on its roads. To obtain the permit Kirkness must attach the mining permit from the provincial government which clearly states the maximum removal amount (as above). Each month he must submit the amount removed to the City with payment of $.50 per cubic meter removed, so they clearly know when his permit has been exceeded. The City of Chilliwack has not invoked its own Bylaw 1989; it has allowed him to remove materials even though he does not have a permit to do so for three years 2008, 2009 and 2010.
The records for those three years show that Kirkness extracted 883,042 cubic meters of materials whereas his mining permit allowed only 339,000 cubic meters; in short 544, 042 over permit. The City of Chilliwack collected $272,022 by looking the other way and not enforcing its own bylaw. At a nominal $4 per cubic meter, Kirkness pocketed $2,176,168 from violating his provincial permit.
The Vedder Mountain Preservation Group worked through the inspector of mines who issued a stop work order on January 10, 2011 but was lifted a week later. On advice from the Ministry of Attorney General’s counsel Kirkness was asked to file a remedial plan which requires a volumetric survey be done twice a year by a registered land surveyor. This must be submitted with an updated mine plan as a check on the aggregate production and for comparison with scale tickets. Also, with that directive a caution was issued advising the operator that further violation of his condition or directive may result in a prosecution in accordance with Section 37 and/or a court order as per Section 35 of the Mines Act.
The Vedder MPG continues to monitor the situation by requesting FOI inquiries on his activities in the City of Chilliwack. The information for 2010 was received March 14, 2013.