Shaping Our Future
Aggregates Study

The Growth Management Plan (GMP) recognizes the importance of the primary industrial sector in the region. It also notes that the ability of activities such as gravel extraction and processing to function can be affected by adjacent land uses, escalating land values and the allocation of land for other uses. In view of the direction provided by the GMP and to respond to increasing public concerns, the Regional District authorized the preparation of the Aggregates Study.

The purpose of the Aggregates Study is to rank the potential of lands for aggregate extraction and to develop policies and implementation actions to balance the requirements of the industry with public concerns and environmental protection. Consistency with the GMP, specifically in regards to the goals of creating a vibrant and sustainable economy, improving servicing efficiency and protecting the environment are key considerations.

The Aggregates Study is comprised of two phases. Phase I consists of an aggregate potential map based on research by the Ministry of Energy and Mines (Geological Survey Branch). Aggregate potential is approximated based on information about landform types present, area, the presence or absence of gravel pits, the thickness of the overburden, and gravel thickness. The research results in what the Ministry of Energy and Mines classify as a 'Level 3' aggregate potential map (Aggregates Study Map 1 Aggregate Potential). As a Level 3 aggregate potential map the locations and quantities of aggregate resources are not known with enough accuracy and reliability to designate specific areas of the region for aggregate resource development or to prohibit aggregate resource development in specific undeveloped areas. Phase II is an examination of the planning and land use issues related to the aggregates industry in the region. It is comprised of three parts, as summarized below:

Part A provides information about the aggregates industry in the region from the perspectives of those with an interest in the aggregates industry. The concerns of the community and special interest groups were identified by requesting these groups to contribute their opinions, in writing, to the Regional District. The concerns of local aggregate producers were identified at an aggregate producers' meeting conducted in the Fall of 1998. The regulatory interests and provisions of local, regional, provincial and federal government bodies were also identified through written correspondence with the bodies and legislative research.

Part B provides more detailed information about the aggregates industry. It includes an assessment regarding aggregate supply and demand, and describes factors affecting aggregate resource development from the perspective of the aggregates industry.

Recommendations and implementation strategies for planning and regulating the aggregate industry in the context of the Growth Management Plan are outlined in Part C. The recommended aggregate management program includes the following four components to effectively manage aggregate resources:

1. Regional Growth Strategy Amendment

An amendment to the regional growth strategy to include a policy that states that "extraction and processing of aggregate resources will be permitted where it is consistent with municipal, Regional District, and provincial land use plans and regulations";

2. Official Community Plan Amendments

Amendments to official community plans to:

  • include a policy that supports the extraction and processing of sand and gravel on lands designated as Resource Lands and Open Spaces by the Growth Management Plan, subject to issuance of a Soil Removal and Deposit Permit; and
  • include a policy that support temporary extraction and processing of sand and gravel subject to the issuance of a Temporary Use Permit; and

3. An Implementation Agreement

An implementation agreement between the Regional District of Nanaimo and the Ministry of Energy and Mines to clarify agency roles and responsibilities with respect to aggregate regulation to reduce and eliminate, where desirable, regulation overlaps; and

4. A Soil Removal and Deposit Bylaw

A soil removal and deposit bylaw with specific requirements and provisions to be addressed in the establishment of aggregate operations.

The recommended aggregate management program recognizes and balances the various interests in the use and development of aggregate resources.

Several provincial ministries and the Regional District of Nanaimo provided funding for the Aggregates Study. The Ministry of Energy and Mines, the Ministry of Transportation and Highways, and the Ministry of Municipal Affairs funded the aggregate potential mapping research for Phase I. Funding assistance for Phase II of the Study was provided by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and the Regional District of Nanaimo.

The Aggregates Study is a result of collaboration between the provincial government, and the residents, staff and elected officials of the Regional District of Nanaimo. Ministry of Energy and Mines staff developed and implemented the aggregate potential research methodology for Phase I, and reviewed materials and provided advice for Phase II. The various perspectives of the public and the aggregates industry were provided by the Regional Board appointed Public Advisory Committee during the numerous Committee meetings conducted between August of 1998 and September of 1999. Public input regarding the use and development of aggregate resources was obtained through correspondence with all of the Advisory Planning Commissions within the Regional District, as well as other special interest groups that had identified an interest in aggregate land use issues. Aggregate producer input was obtained at two special aggregate producer meetings, and meetings between individual producers and Study consultants. Regional District staff and selected consultants managed the project, provided administrative assistance, wrote reports and created Study maps. Overall, the Select Committee guided the Study.

The Regional Board received the Aggregates Study at its meeting on November 9, 1999, and directed staff to initiate the implementation of the recommended aggregate management program through the preparation of a draft Soil Removal and Deposit Bylaw, an establishing bylaw for the service, and an Implementation Agreement with the Ministry of Energy and Mines, for further consideration by the Board.

The Aggregates Study report may be purchased at the Regional District of Nanaimo offices for $25.00 (plus applicable taxes).

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