The proposed Summit Pit near the Big Hill Spring Provincial Park is being met with strong opposition.

The window for written submission has closed, and over 90 per cent spoke against the project.

Letters from nearby landowners gave it the thumbs down, and those in support were companies in related fields of business.

Several major environmental stewardship organizations have also entered the conversation.

Leading the charge has been the Big Hill Creek Preservation Society (BHCPS). It has made both written and audio/visual presentations and reaching out to others to do the same. In conjunction with the Friends of the Big Hill Springs Provincial Park, they also recruited Dr. Jon Fennell to prepare an extensive review of the impact of the project.

"There is possibly no more environmentally sensitive development proposed in all of RVC," states BHCPS president Gerald Bietz in his letter to the RVC council. "To put this artifact in jeopardy for common gravel would be a travesty. In our region, gravel is virtually everywhere. It can be sourced from a less sensitive place."

Harry Hodgson, who lives on an acreage one mile from the Big Hill Spring Provincial Park gates, joined with a group of neighbours to form the friends of the park.

"Nobody wants to live next to a gravel pit, and that's where it all started," he says. But as they dug deeper into the issue, he says they realized there was much more to be concerned about.

"They're going to have a pit 25 metres deep, half a mile wide by almost a mile long. Just digging the pit is going to affect the water."

He encourages people to continue to make submissions through the two avenues still available.

"Anybody that has ever visited or ever plans on visiting the park needs to know because this is going to affect them. They're going to have a gravel operation within 800 metres of the park. You're going to go for a nice stroll in the park, listening to industrial equipment, and their backup noises, and rock crushers, and breathing in silica dust. It's ridiculous to have a gravel pit so close to a provincial park."

The Alberta Wilderness Association says the park may only be 70 acres, but it was one of the first parks established in Alberta. Its features have drawn visitors for more than a hundred years. A 1984 Parks Canada survey of springs called it one of the top four mineral springs in Canada.

"The fact that the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans has recognized the waters of the Bighill Creek around the provincial park and springs as critical habitat for threatened bull trout is also significant, and indicates the absolute importance of maintaining the aquifer, springs, and the temperature and flow rates of water in the creek."

In its brief, the southern Alberta chapter of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society calls for a thorough cumulative effects assessment of the region before any additional industrial proposals are considered.

The Town of Cochrane was not circulated on the application by Rocky View County because it's outside of the notification zone for the project.

"We will be following the process, but we will not be active participants," says Drew Hyndman, Cochrane's general manager of development and community services.

Some Cochrane residents, though, have submitted letters.

They include Cochrane resident D. R. Brown, a hydrogeologist, who calls the summary statement of the project's hydrogeology report grossly misleading.

"In conclusion, recognizing the potential for both groundwater quality and groundwater quality impacts from the proposed Mountain Ash pits put much more emphasis on the importance of an assessment of the cumulative effects on the four planned gravel pits.

"If Rocky View County has ignored this need, it is a serious dereliction of responsibility, in my opinion."

Pre-record audio or visual presentations can be submitted until 12 noon on Monday. Mar. 1. Input can also be provided during the public hearing by emailing

For both pre-recorded presentations and emails, the bylaw number should be included in the subject line: C-8051-2020.