Rocky View County (RVC) council is considering taking another crack at establishing an aggregate resource plan.
Council has unanimously agreed to have its administration prepare a terms of reference, complete with a cost estimate, by no later than Mar. 31, 2023. Should it proceed, the plan is expected to be completed no later than Oct. 31, 2024.
Div. 4 councillor Samanntha Wright brought forward the motion that was seconded by RVC Mayor Crystal Kissel.
"I know it's been contentious in the past and I know that we've received some letters from industry stating this isn't the path that we need to go on, and I couldn't disagree more. I think this is definitely the path we need to take. It creates absolutes for industry and it creates absolutes for residents as well."
She says the need for an aggregate resource plan was identified to be seventh on a list of 81 priorities at a June workshop.
"It's about balancing our obligations, protecting residents, but identifying that we do need gravel and gravel is a commodity that we all need to have," said Wright. "It's our roads, it's our homes, it's not about saying no to gravel, and I want to make that really clear."
Div. 5 Councillor Greg Boehlke was among those speaking in favour of the motion.
"I think that this is probably a good idea," said Boehlke. "I hope it doesn't get sidetracked by activist groups or anti-gravel or pro-gravel groups, for that matter. It would be nice to run down the middle and come up with a plan where everybody can agree that this is the road forward."
After extensive work and public meetings, an effort to finalize a plan was unsuccessful in 2018. The administration believes that go-around was ill-fated because its term of reference wasn't quite suitable.
Mayor Kissel said a plan would assist the county in making decisions as it continues to grow and expand.
"The only way you can have that conversation is you have to sit everybody at the table. You have to come down with an agreement on how we're going to operate," she said.
She believes it will set out rules and make sure everybody's on the same playing field, pointing to an experience in her division where a gravel operator was jockeying to get longer hours than a neighbouring operation.
"I think this is a bigger conversation than just arguing over little things. I think this is looking into the future and finding a better way to do business. Everybody needs to be successful. We're all very aware. I order gravel for my yard every second year, and if we didn't have that, I'd be driving on the dirt, So, we need to find a better way to work together, and I think this could actually get us there."
She says it will also help provide clarity for people looking to buy land.
"For some people, it doesn't matter, they're OK with living next to a gravel pit. Some people are not. Some people are surprised when they find out it's been purchased by a gravel company and they thought it was going to be green fields for the next 20 years."
The notice of motion also calls for salvaging some of the work undertaken in the last plan for the new document.