STAR Pit Temporary Closure
Some of you may have noticed that the STAR pit has been quiet these past few days. That's because the Minister of Transportation, Brian Mason, has shut it down while his staff investigates the recent complaints about how dust levels are exceeding the provincial acceptable limit. This is due largely in part to the recent article in the Calgary Herald (see link below) and the flood of letters the Minister has received over these past few months. Well done, everyone!
As stated in the article, the dust levels reported were exceeding the minimum standards with respect to dust/particulate matter. Since the pit has been shut down, the BLV group (Burnco, Lafarge and Volker Stevin) and Alberta Transportation have been working together to create a list of additional provisions to ensure pit activities are conducted within the legal guidelines, these changes will apply to all companies working within the pit boundaries. While these provisions are numerous and still being ironed out, one of them is to place an additional monitoring station on the east side of the pit. The intention is that BLV will be required to provide daily monitoring for both noise and dust (currently, dust monitoring is only measured every 6th day).
On Monday, the Ministry will send a representative to ensure that STAR has these additional provisions in place before allowing it to recommence operations.
In addition to the above, we have been advised that all future contracts sourcing gravel, like the one held by AECON these past few summers, will be held to the same conditions as those provided to BLV. There will no longer be two sets of rules for those operating at the STAR pit. There are more provisions and we have been assured that there will be a release by the Minister once they are completed.
As some of you are aware, a Ministry of Transportation representative was at the STAR Pit and surrounding area last week before the shutdown with a Calgary Bylaw Sergeant in attendance. The purpose of this site visit was to independently assess the sound emanating from the STAR Pit and ascertain what the nominal ambient noise levels are in the area. I asked, and some residents granted the Ministry representative and bylaw officer access to their property where noise measurements were taken. Measurements were taken with and without STAR operating its equipment. The Ministry representative has assured us that there will be a report drafted and forwarded to council as promised at the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties (AAMDC) conference.
If that is not enough, the County has also been conducting its own noise monitoring tests - we are awaiting the results. Again, as I have more information, I will be sure to share it.
In the meantime, have a great weekend and thank you for your continued efforts. Please forward this on to anyone who may be interested.