Coquitlam councillors, back from their summer break, wasted little time panning a controversial plan for a gravel quarry near Minnekhada Regional Park.
Council unanimously passed a notice of motion Monday signalling opposition to the plan, and waived the standard two-week waiting period to vote on the item.
At a council-in-committee meeting Monday afternoon, virtually every council member picked apart elements of the proposal - its location, the timing, lack of consultation or the environmental impacts.
"I don't support this at all," said Mayor Richard Stewart.
"This community has delivered more than our fair share of the region's gravel for decades ... this doesn't fit in with our plans."
Planned for the corner of Quarry Road and Calgary Drive, the quarry application is through the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations and was made by John Carley of Langley.
According to the ministry's website, phase one is the investigative phase during which, if a permit is issued, Carley will send a crew to drill six test holes into the ground to see whether there is any valuable sand or gravel to extract.
If Carley is successful in his venture, then phase two starts the construction and operation of the quarry.
Quarry Road resident Jim McNeil is doing everything he can to see that the proposal doesn't reach that stage. An engineer by trade, McNeil appeared before council Monday with a petition containing the names of close to 700 people opposed to the plan, which he and others collected within a three-day stretch.
"It's tough to get unanimity on any issue but in this case, everybody we've approached is against it," he said. "This is an opportunistic application ... the applicant has no vested interest in the area."
McNeil cited a litany of problems he feels will be brought to his neighbourhood should the application go ahead: increased heavy truck traffic, decreased property values, damage to fish-bearing habitats and the potential for contaminating ground water in the area.
"People were expecting other things because this is not part of any city plan. Noise, dust and commercial traffic by designated parks and recreational areas will only make it worse," he said.
Perhaps the biggest sticking point for council was the fact that the application, and the subsequent public comment period, both happened in August, a month where no council meetings are held.
"To see this thing come out of left field in the middle of summer, it's pretty shocking," Coun. Terry O'Neill said. "Certainly on the surface, it just seems like it does not belong here."
- with a file from Jeremy Deutsch
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