WINNIPEG — The Manitoba Heavy Construction Association (MHCA) is applauding the provincial government’s decision to establish a permanent advisory committee to the minister of municipal relations on the management of aggregate mineral resources.
“We are happy to see that the advisory committee that was set up last year to review legislation touching on aggregate resources will become permanent, and serve as an advisory council to the
minister,” MHCA president Chris Lorenc stated in the association’s Heavy News Weekly newsletter.
The committee is comprised of industry, municipal and government representatives and is meant to keep track of all concerns on the aggregate resources file.
“We think this is a good way to ensure any issue or conflict does not escalate due to lack of timely action. A committed group of people across the sectors can be really good at resolving issues quickly,” Lorenc said.
According to the MHCA, as regional communities grow, conflicting demands — such as for residential development — are putting pressure on existing operations and on applications to open new pits and quarries. This is leading to a “sterilization” of some of Manitoba’s richest aggregate deposits.
“Recently passed legislation amending the Planning Act will see a technical-review process established to review pit and quarry applications, prior to a municipal council’s decision, where land-use zoning must be varied,” the MHCA newsletter reads.
This will allow officials to comment on an operation’s compliance with provincial mineral, land-use and environmental legislation and regulations.
The mandate of the Aggregate Advisory Committee, states the MHCA, will include the review of the Quarry Rehabilitation Program’s standards and levy and the licence and hauling fees attached to aggregate operations.
The committee can also act as a liaison between department officials and also call the minister’s attention to brewing problems.
The first meeting is slated for the first week of September.