Opponents of the development of a concrete batch plant by Heidelberg Materials say they intend to appeal its approval at the Apr. 17 meeting of the Cochrane Planning Commission (CPC).

Upwards of 100 residents attended to get more details, most from the Precedence, Riversong and Gleneagles communities. Some wore a badge with the words "concerned citizen."

The Cochrane Planning Commission approved the building permit application after amending three conditions and adding one. A decision is scheduled to be sent to the applicant on Apr. 25, triggering a 21-day appeal window.

The lighting condition was amended to require the application of dark sky friendly principles, such as soft light colour and non-reflectiveness.

The height variance of 55' for silos was adjusted to allow for the addition of a bag house and dust collector. The bag house and dust collector operations must be monitored, inspected and maintained.

There is also an additional condition related to how mixer wash water is managed and disposed of.

The proposed concrete batch plant would allow the combining of materials to create concrete mixtures to occur on site rather than hauling raw aggregate materials off-site for processing or batching elsewhere.  It is proposed to be located within the central east part of the existing gravel extraction operation.

batch plantDrawing of the concrete batch plant revised on Mar. 22, 2024.

The additional use of aggregate in the operation would increase extraction to 800,00 tons annually from 500,000 tons. Heidelberg says it will reduce the life of the pit to nine years. Recently, town council heard a preliminary report on the proposed Robinson Lands development that will follow once gravel extraction activity is complete.

The town and applicant both heard concerns and questions raised on dust mitigation, air emissions, hours of operation, truck traffic and an overall concern for the continued enjoyment of their properties.


Paul Trotter, of the Gleneagles community, says notice of the building permit application was not widely distributed and that the town only put up a sign on a fence on a roundabout near one of the entrances to the site that was difficult to access.

"You can't even stop there to look at the sign, so it was a real failure on the part of trying to know, involve the public."

He began knocking on doors three weeks in advance to advice people of the proposed development and says they were stunned to hear about it.

"We have a number of concerns and will be appealing this as soon as they post their decision," says Trotter.

Trotter has a clear view of the gravel pit. He says it has been there since the 70s and people knew it was a gravel pit when they purchased their homes, but considers a concrete plant to be next level. Among his concerns, is water usage.

Allan Gibbon, a two-year resident of Precedence, says he has the future generations in mind.

Allan GibbonAllan Gibbon is among the residents expressing grave concern over the proposed concrete batch plant.

"I'm determined to make sure future generations are not impacted by a dust cloud daily, because the operational hours are from 7 in the morning until 10 at night."

In response to feedback from the public, Heidelberg Materials will fully enclose the plant within a building. It was originally proposed to be constructed in the open without a structure. It's hours of operation have also been reduced to Monday to Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 12 noon and exclude Sundays and holidays, largely to compile with the town's noise bylaw.

Precedence resident Zack Schmidt, who has an environmental background in the oil and gas sector, was disappointed in discussions at the CPC meeting and wants more facts.

"My major concern is with the dust and silica compounds. There were no facts about mitigation, no, we're dropping it from 99 parts per million to one part per million. There was no reference of any actual facts, just the term mitigate, mitigate, mitigate."

Also from Precedence, Joel Van Doesburg wants to better understand the plant's benefit to residents.

"How is the town benefiting from this? What's the town getting out of this deal? It seems to me that you know a foreign multinational is coming in and they'll make a lot of money, but what's the impact to the citizens of the Town of Cochrane?"

Because the land use for this property was already in place, there wasn't a public hearing, however as a discretionary use, it does require a decision from CPC in order to proceed, explains Drew Hyndman, executive director of Development and Infrastructure Services.

The town's planning department compiled and reviewed all feedback received from residents, advising residents on the application process and endeavoring to answer any questions arising. he explains. It prepared a frequently asked questions document they forwarded to those raising questions and encouraged the applicant to engage the public prior to going to planning commission meeting.

The town's subdivision appeal board is required to meet within 30 days of receiving a valid appeal. Should one be filed, it will be the first opportunity for the public to speak on the matter. The board would render its decision with 15 days of the appeal.