Residents attended District of Metchosin’s council meeting this week to oppose an application for a “soil recycling facility.”
The area of operation is approximately two hectares of a 50-hectare property at 3659 Sooke Road. If approved, up to 15,000 cubic meters of soil would be brought in to be separated, sold and reused, according to a staff report to the planning committee.
Rachael Samson, a land development consultant hired by the applicant, told council the soil would be coming from a Capital Regional District water project. She noted there would be water quality monitoring, no rock crusher and six to 10 trucks per day on Sooke Road.
Some residents who spoke argued the proposal should require a rezoning application due to its size and scope. If granted the permit would allow blasting and clearing of trees in that area and for soil to be trucked into the property for commercial purposes.
Mayor John Ranns said the landowner may choose to move if the application is not approved. If the applicant moved, the property would be subdivided into 10 acre lots, which is allowed to be blasted and built upon.
He indicated the application was among the most sensible applications he has seen.
A member of a local residents group said they were flatly opposed to the proposal and said reports are unclear on the specifics on the origins of the soil within the CRD.
Coun. Marie-Tèrèse Little said she was opposed to the permit due to the length of time it would take to remediate the area and the likelihood of neighbors complaining about the noise. According to a staff report, the project consultant said noise generated by a soil screener at the facility would hit 70 decibels.
One resident expressed concerns over water quality on Metchosin and Bilston creeks, for which the property provides headwaters.
Councillor Sharie Epp said she liked the idea of soil recycling but was concerned about the possibility of contamination. She said she cannot see anything stopping the owner using the temporary use permit and subdividing the property and that this would need more exploration.
A broader sampling of residents is needed and the request would need to be further assessed, Ranns said.
Temporary use permits in the district are issued for a three-year period, plus one renewal.
Councillor Kyara Kahakauwila made a motion to refer the application back to staff for further information. It was carried with Councillors Epp and Ranns voting in favour of the motion. Councillors MacKinnon and Little were opposed.