The MHCA is working with industry representatives and an external adviser to respond to a sweeping new bylaw the RM of Springfield has proposed to regulate pits and quarries in the municipality.
The MHCA learned of the draft bylaw in mid-December, when it received first reading by the municipal council.
“There are extensive new regulations to proposed development of pits and quarries in Springfield that are of marked concern to the industry,” MHCA President Chris Lorenc said. “We understand the bylaw has already had first reading by the municipal council so there is limited time for response.”
Among the concerns are the limits for setbacks from pits and quarries, including those from the edges of residential properties and water bodies.
“The setbacks have the potential to sterilize some high-quality aggregate reserves – perhaps the best found in Manitoba – in the municipality. The water-body setbacks, especially, have been described to us as unnecessarily strict.”
The aggregate reserves are regulated by provincial legislation, which seeks to protect access to aggregates – an acknowledgment that aggregates are the foundation for every type of infrastructure construction and there is no engineered alternative. If the reserves cannot be developed in the Capital Region, the option is to go much farther for sand and gravel, dramatically increasing costs and also the carbon footprint involved in transportation.
“We want to work with the Springfield council and have already contacted the RM CAO and mayor to express our preliminary concerns,” Lorenc noted.
Meanwhile, the MHCA will be responding to two new secondary development plans Springfield is preparing and its review of its zoning bylaw, which the industry also learned about mid-December. The deadline for response is mid-January.
Lorenc said the compressed timeline for response makes review and response challenging.