Dust from gravel pits

  • Posted on: 13 August 2015
  • By: Michael Brydon

Many of you have commented on the dust from the Westhills Aggregates pit and the new excavation adjacent to the pits. I will check with RDOS staff to see if anything can be done on our end.


We live on the south end of West Bench Drive and over the last year this dust cloud has become a regular daily occurrence and can be seen from town every day. It just gets worse when it is windy. Our yards are covered in fine dust and I have never cleaned so much mud from the rain gutters as I have this year. We are hearing a lot of complaints from residents. Air quality concerns are a huge issue for many, especially seniors and those with health issues. Trucks are starting up at 4:30 a.m. throughout the week. The gravel operation is long term and not going away any time soon. The noise and dust issue has to be a concern for West Bench, Westwood and PIB residents. There are ways to reduce the dust. Roads could be oiled, some other type of dust control measures could be used, scrubbers could be installed on the crusher etc. Are there noise & dust regulations that should be followed? Is it possible for the RDOS or senior levels of government to meet with PIB to look at the issues? Thanks.

Thanks Brian, as discussed, I have passed your concerns on to RDOS CAO Bill Newell.  We have a "Joint Council" under the provisions of the RDOS-PIB Protocol Agreement, which is now the primary mechanism to deal with such issues.  Hopefully we can get some resolution.

The noise from the back-up Governors on the loaders that sometimes go all night and often start at 4am. Is bothersome for Westwood residents, especially on the view side. I have contacted the manager twice about this and he apologizes and says that they forgot to tell the driver to shut the governor off but it continues to happen on a nightly basis. Maybe you would have more clout than I in asking for their cooperation in eliminating this noise pollution??

The gravel and asphalt operations in our backyards are a constant source of frustration (not to mention noise and dust).  The operators of these facilities argue (rightly) that the gravel pits were here long before any houses.  In addition, the Westhills Aggregates pit is (since the mid 1980s) on PIB land.  That means the RDOS's land use and noise bylaws are irrelevant to that operation.  The best we can do is what you have done already--give them a call and ask them to be good neighbors. Keeping in mind, of course, that they are running a business.

As an aside, the Peter Bros. asphalt plant is unambiguously within Area F boundaries and is subject to our land use and noise bylaws.  Indeed, the RDOS has levied fines on Peter Bros. on many occasions for temporary expansions of its operations.  The summer of 2014 was especially bad when they were repaving the airport runways (a job that was done at night).  We chose at the time not to fine them for that job because, after all, we all benefit directly or indirectly from the airport being paved.  A sleepless summer for some, however.

As a resident who lives very close to these industrial operations my long term hope is that (a) they run out of gravel (does not seem likely when I look out my window) or (b) the real estate market takes off and the highest and best use of that land becomes view homes.  Of course, this would require sewer service on the bench....

Once again--truck traffic is increasing. Over the past 2 weeks or so, the gravel trucks mostly have a "pup" or extension on the truck. They hit the break between new/old asphalt on Bartlett Drive & my house rattles/shakes. I am concerned about cracks appearing in my foundation/stucco etc. I have been dealing with the Argo road supervisor to get a resolution but the question is: why the extra weight going up/down the hit from the 2 pits & why is the truck traffic starting approx. 4:30am and lasting till over the dinner hour and on the weekends? This is certainly not right in our residential neighbourhood.

Yes, these gravel pits are working hard--someone is building something somewhere.  But of course (1) these are public roads and (2) they are a provincial responsibiliy in any case.  Unlike municipalities, regional districts in BC have no authority to control traffic on provincial roads.