All About Elphinstone Aggregates

On April 2, I joined Town of Gibsons councillor David Croal, SCRD Area F director Mark Hiltz, and Area D director Andreas Tize on a visit to Elphinstone Aggregates, led by owner Julian Burtnick. I’d like to thank him very much for welcoming us and giving an informative tour.

This fall the gravel mine started expanding upslope, logging in advance of mine expansion. The clearing, visible from places like Soames Hill, the ferry and Sidewinder trail, raised a flurry of questions in the community, so we went out to find some facts.

Those of you who’ve lived here a long time probably know the mine as Fiedler’s gravel pit. It was established in the early 1980s at the top of Keith Road, just above the power lines. The site is a 57 acre industrial property, with an additional 25 acre Crown lease to the north. It is shared with BA Blacktop and adjacent to the re-located Gibsons Redi Mix operation.

Elphinstone Aggregates is the largest business in Elphinstone, employing 7 to 9 full time staff (it varies seasonally). They produce twenty aggregate products such as rock, sand, gravel and crusher dust, and they sell 100% of it on the Sunshine Coast where it is used in construction, roads, septic fields, etc. (They provided the rock used at the recent washout that closed Lower Road.)

Settling ponds.

The site also receives land clearing debris. Wood is chipped and sent to Howe Sound Pulp and Paper as hog fuel. They have a burner as well, but now that the mill is accepting hog fuel again, it is used very infrequently. Water for industrial purposes (primarily gravel washing) is collected from rainwater and surface runoff, stored in a series of settling ponds, and recycled. SCRD potable water is not used except in the office.

This fall BC Timber Sales logged to within approximately 10 metres of the boundary of the Crown lease, so there should be no further impact on trails upslope (especially Sidewinder, which is just above). The supply of gravel on site is expected to last about 20 years. There are as yet no firm long term plans for the site after the pit closes, though it might be a candidate for redevelopment as an industrial park.

Gravel mine expansion has opened up a view from Sidewinder trail, but should pose no problems for trail users.

Posted by Donna