Overrun By Gravel Mining

By September 3, 2013Letters, Pop Voice

Dear Editor: With the Fraser Valley quickly being over-run with open mining ( gravel pits , primarily in southern Aldergrove and Mission / Deroche areas) and tandem dump-trucks, the request for yet another large Gravel pit becomes even more relevant.

I recently received a letter from the FVRD and notice of a meeting for concerned people for Sept 5-2013 at the FVRD Deroche Office.

My first thought was that it is just another meeting where evidence and fact will once again be ignored and the permit will be issued no matter what people’s opinion, the dept of the Environment or Department of Mines may think.

The fact that the FVDR ignores peoples opinions for environmental and health safety is a documented fact from meetings in Aug 2012 and Oct 2012.

Evidence was presented to the FVRD in Aug. Ignored at the Oct meeting and a permit granted for Ekset followed. ( hence my first thought when I received this most recent letter. )

I understood that the FVRD recommended a permit with a few stipulations.
Since almost a year has expired I see that the FVRD’s requests have been ignored to date. 3 of the requests include:

– a water station to be built to clean the trucks exiting Norish Creek before they meet Bell Rd. This has not been done.
– extend the pavement up Norish Creek service rd to the mine entrance. This has not been done.
– to maintain a clean rd where Bell and Norish Creek meet. This is done ONLY when I phone and complain that the dirt is thick and abusive again. It does not get clean when there is excess mud and debris.

I must admit I am unaware as to any timeline that may be involved, but it would be rediculous to think that these requests were to be completed when the new pit was in full operation since the filling of the old pit was started long before last summer and the first meeting and the new pit was started when the first tree was cut ( they are all cut at the moment ),

The first equipment and commencement for the new pit was started, last winter.

Dump trucks were being utilized, continually since last year with several hundred a week now in and out every day.

It would seem that the wash station, asphalt buffer and water truck would be used for the trucks but obviously Ekset has not attempted to do any of this on their own and there is nothing accomplished unless they are requested to wash the road.

I question the FVRD’s awareness of Eksets lack of compliance, deceit and flagrant disregard toward FVRD’s requests.

I question whether the FVRD follows up on their requests and whether they care about the mining companies lack of moral compliance.

The above points are just 3 simple requests that Ekset has not followed up with.

The fact of lying to the FVRD at last Octobers meeting , dumping of rubber, metal, wood, plastic and chemicals into the old pit to be buried, and the falsifying of documents by way of ignorance toward their duties is documented below.

I know for a fact that Ekset doesn’t follow up on what they are requested to do….Legally by Law, and rarely by personal request.
( Search Google for ‘ Ekset ‘ and see where they have historically failed and where they continue to fail and defy court orders. )

I have attached, below, a letter , that I originally meant to send last November

First, I would like to apologize to the Board for any abrupt outburst that I had at the Oct 23rd FVRD meeting in Chilliwack.

I had to leave since I was getting extremely upset at the fact that the delegation from Dave Vernon and Ekset presented lie after lie to the Board, with the Boards knowledge , and they were accepted as truth.
There was very little questioning on their ‘facts’ from only one board member, Wendy Bales.

I was upset at their obvious lies since in the meeting for August I gave the board pictures of the pollution and half buried waste they have conducted in the Gravel Pit that is being filled on Bell road.

A full video was sent to Dave Bennett , July 31-2012 , capturing the waste and pollution in the pit. Glass, concrete blocks, tires, twisted metal and rubber scattered and half buried in the mutli-acre lot.

Proof that the Board and Mr Bennett, as well as many others listed in this email, knew about , but did not have the fortitude to question the Ekset delegation.

Obvious Lies

Michael Olson knew of the waste and condition of the site , although he sent a memo to Mr Dave Bennet on Oct 18-2012 stating:

” The existing pit is in compliance to my knowledge, attached is the most recent inspection report which was conducted prior to the permit being amended.

I conducted the inspection and there were no concerns regarding the application area and the older site required a sign.”

What good is his stamp of approval if it was done ‘ prior to the permit being amended ‘? The date, he states…..’G-7-118 was amended on April 2, 2012 to include the new mining area adjacent to the previous site ‘.

The Bunk-house shack, 35 foot boat and trailer, storage bins, maintenance building, massive tires, oil drums, stoves, water heaters, sinks etc , were there at that time….before April 2…….how could he possible know that they were deposed of correctly ?????

How could he say the site was in compliance when it hadn’t started to be cleared and there was , literally , tons of garbage on site ?

The FVRD Board recommend after the Oct 23 meeting that… ‘ AND FURTHER THAT the Fraser Valley Regional District Board request confirmation from the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources (MEMPR) with respect to whether the existing pit located at 38297 Bell Road has been operating in compliance with Mines Permit No. 0700098’

It is clear to me and others that they did not .

The video and pictures are proof.

Was Water Tested ? ( NO )

Ekset’s, ” hydrological consultant, ( Active Earth Engineering Ltd ) was at the Oct 23 Board meeting to respond to the concerns identified regarding the water table, well monitoring . ” ( from the minutes of the FVRD in August). After they told everyone that everything was in compliance they sat down. I leaned back and asked him , loadly, whether he had tested or seen my well or Tom’s or Sharon’s well.

He said he had not.

This was 15 seconds after he told everyone that the water was fine !

How could he know without testing the water ?

Just a straight face to face lie to the Board. The Boards reaction….? nothing ! No response ! No questioning the lies.

Please show any tests that were done on the well water that may be affected in the area…( I am down 14 feet…..the neighbours was 4-5 feet deep……How deep was the pit and it’s water table ? )

Another of Dave Vernon’s delegate ( speaking for Ekset ) was asked if there was any activity in the evening. He said No, not to his knowledge.

I asked him when the last time he was there during the evening but he didn’t reply. ‘ Never ‘ seemed to me to be the correct answer.

They work at night. This fact was presented to Drew just last week when there was machine activity at 12 MIDNGHT .

Drew was phoned by a neighbour of ours but he said there shouldn’t be and wasn’t any activity that night .

Obviously he wasn’t standing a few yards away from the crew that was running the machinery that evening.

Obviously Drew doesn’t know , either what his crew do, or is lying just as Dave Vernon’s employees lied to the board in October.

NEWS as of Aug 2013 : – A neighbour bought out Sharon Gaetz’s farm at the corner of Bell and Norish Cr.

He cleared the land and the water was present 4-5 feet from grade…..not a deep alluvial fan as stated by Active Earth Engineering.

Omitted Information on application

Distance to nearby buildings were conveniently misrepresented on Eksets maps that were submitted to the FVRD, and Ministry of mines in order to secure the permit to mine.

The houses are, in my estimate and using the maps scale , about 80 yards and 120 yards from the new open pit area.

I left the completed and up to date maps with this information at the meeting in August.

All Counsellors had access to them.

The distance , ( lack of distance ), is relevant from a noise perspective but also for the next point I make…..

Recently , ( April 26 2013 at around 5 pm ) , several gunshots were heard in the back pit. Equipment and operators were still working and filling in the pit at a few locations.

After several shots from a 22 rifle and then a ‘larger black gun’ my neighbour went in his back yard and yelled at them that there were houses, kids and animals here and they should move it up the mountain.

He was promptly told to ‘fuck off’ and was fingered.

He took a picture of the B & B TRUCK AND THE 4 EMPLOYEES OF B & B that were shooting in the pit close to his house and amongst the machine operators.

His sister then phoned Drew . He was shocked and angered with this interaction.
Perhaps a phone call to Workers Comp should had been in order, and one to the Police and perhaps the CO, dept of Mines …?…..but my neighbour did not want any repercussions from these 4 ‘ big guys’ ( as he said they were ), and obviously feared not only property damage but retribution.

I hope that Drew , ( Ekset ), dealt with that situation with more than a slap on the wrist. There has not been any other B & B employees shooting at our house since then.

The Chilliwack Progress,and Robert Freeman, Published: June 27, 2012 , believes the , ‘FVRD officials have argued that electoral area directors represented the public…’
Sorry Robert. So far, I just don’t see it.

They have taken care of the interests of Ekset, the Provincial Government ( whom is the largest customer for Ekset’s labor ), and the workers who profit and pay taxes.

They are an arm of the Government, not the people.

If the FVRD were ‘ for the people ‘ I would ask that the members were willing to…….

– allow us to pollute your water supply without question
– allow 17 gravel trucks in a 10 minute ride to town, ( 10 km ) to be on their street, ( that equates to 102 trucks an hour, or 1.7 every minute.
– allow 1 km of mud on the road way starting a half block from their driveway.
– allow rocks the size of toasters to potatoes spread over the road system for 2-1/2 km around their streets. ( I laid out these rock samples in front of the FVRD Board in August )
– allow the CVSE to stop 2-3 Gravel Trucks in their child’s School Yard to do Inspections.
– allow 4 gravel employees to shoot off high powered rifles next to their home, and then be told to ‘fuck off’ if they questioned these employees.
– then ask these problems to be addressed by responsible mature humans and be lied to that ‘everything is just fine’.

If they see no problem with these points and take no responsibility for their decision I would love to sell them a house and have them live in their dream property out in the ‘ remote ‘ woods of Mission.

I will trade them for their home straight across.

The fact is that the pit , and our water table, is full of buried garbage.

This is known by the ‘people’ that Ekset hires who were at the meeting and lied to the FVRD.

The FVRD know of the garbage in the pit that was covered. Video evidence and still pictures were distributed.

Ekset has not been asked by the FVRD , or the Ministry of the Environment or Mines for proof of the garbage being disposed of in a safe manner.

Ekset is rushing to fill the old pit in hoping to cover the garbage in the hole.

Video has been sent to various Government agencies, ministers and assistants….no action has been taken or acknowledged.

The Ministry of Mines and the Ministry of the Environment know of this abuse and have done nothing.
Ekset supplies the BC Government contracts ,( that , to me, tells me that inherent lies on forms and reports should be prevalent).

The pictures and videos of garbage that is in the pit, and ( to the best of my knowledge ) is still in the pit.

The videos clearly show the pits gate ( to prove it is the Norish Cr Pit ), metal with multiple puddles with rust, plastic, tires and various garbage.
The garbage that is shown is the stuff that floated to the top . It is not the bulk that was buried but the spare pieces that they didn’t pick up and throw into the hole.

If Mr Vernon, Ekset or any other would like to refute any of these ‘ claims ‘ please bring proof that the video evidence , maps and pictures presented here and at the August meeting were false.
This would amount to receipts for recycling fees that were paid to Mission or any other regional district recycling location or any sales slip and proof that the ‘ junk ‘ such as the cabin cruiser and it’s trailer, and the bunk house and it’s metal structure was indeed sold or used and not buried.

Frank Marasco

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