Yellowknife City Council has approved a natural resources extraction request from Nahanni Construction Ltd, with conditions.
The work is set to take place on a portion of privately-owned land located south of Giant Mine, on the west bank of Yellowknife Bay.
The area, which has now been officially designated as a quarry with regards to special management zone specifications, is being sought after by Nahanni Construction so it can remove anywhere from 275,000 to 325,000 cubic metres of aggregate material.
The company’s proposal states that its removal of material will result in the clearing and levelling of approximately 70 per cent of the total site area, while maintaining a natural buffer between the area to be excavated and protecting the nearby historic Martin Bode Cabin, which was constructed in 1939.
Approval of the motion at Monday’s council meeting came with several conditions, including “the development use of the natural resource extraction being permitted for 10 years” and that “all the necessary means and protections will be put in place during the natural resource extraction use to ensure no damage or negative impact occurs to the historic single detachment dwelling located on the subject property.”
Mayor Rebecca Alty proposed another condition, which was presented originally at a previous Governance and Priorities Committee meeting, calling for a report “demonstrating the market need and supporting activities in this area is required to demonstrate existing resources are exhausted.”
Alty said she made the amendment to be sure that the report was in compliance with the community plan.
The intention of the community plan is that municipal lands are to be left generally unaltered until an appropriate use is identified, effectively planned for, and the lands are re‐designated and zoned to facilitate the proposed use, according to information from the city’s agenda.
“The community plan policy is very specific and says that, unless lands within this designation are specifically redesignated, this is the condition,” said Charlsey White, the city’s director of planning and development. “So the permitted use in this designation is a quarry, and to allow that to happen, this condition must be included to allow that permitted use for to move forward.”
Coun. Robin Williams described the project as a “bona fide requirement of classification of quarry.”
“So if it doesn’t have this clause in there, therefore, under our zoning, bylaw, or community plan, (it) cannot be considered a quarry, therefore, it basically grinds to a halt,” he said.
Coun. Niels Konge was not in favour of Alty’s amendment, stating that the process, “as far as I’m concerned, is complete waste of money, time, and resources.”
“What we’re doing right now is we’re asking a developer to go out and hire an engineer to create a report so that the city can be satisfied that the resources are depleted in his type zone… so follow the money, who’s paying for it? The developer is — what do you think that report is going to say? It’s a money grab. It’s thousands of dollars that the developer is going to have to spend in order to appease the city.”
The amendment was approved with Konge opposed. The motion, as amended, would be approved unanimously.