Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that city council had completed its vote to create a quarry near Vee Lake. The approval to request Commissioner’s Land from the GNWT to sub-lease a quarry passed second reading on Feb. 24. Third reading is expected to be vote on at the regular council meeting March 9. 

City council approved first and second reading a bylaw to acquire land from the GNWT to create a quarry near Vee Lake during a regular council meeting, Feb. 24.

Third reading for the request to the GNWT is expected to take place at the March 9 regular council meeting.

Representatives from Det’on Cho Corporation management team had appeared at the Feb. 17 government priorities committee meeting asking for a sub-lease at a new quarry site near Vee Lake Road.

The Det’on Cho Corporation is seeking a leasehold on a quarry site near the municipal border at Vee Lake. The company, which is part of the economic development arm of the Yellowknives Dene First Nation, will provide aggregate material for Yellowknife construction projects, including the Giant Mine Remediation project team over the next decade. Council will decide on the matter in the next regular council meeting.
photo sourced from the Government and Priorities Committee agenda from Feb. 17.

John Henderson, chief operating officer for the company, said a lease on the property would allow the company to fill a market need for non-acid bearing material.

Det’on Cho Corporation is the economic development arm of the Yellowknives Dene First Nation

Henderson said the desire to acquire the land is to provide for Yellowknife area construction projects and the Giant Mine Remediation project in particular over the next decade.

It would be the first quarry the company would operate, said Henderson, adding Det’on Cho does have a supply agreement with Land Tran Systems Inc. and sells aggregate rock from a quarry near the dump.

“The main purpose for permitting this is to basically participate in the Giant Mine project remediation and access aggregate sources,” Henderson told councillors.

“The project itself is looking at the need of about four million cubic metres of aggregate.”

The plot of land, which is about 10 kilometres north of Yellowknife – just outside of the Giant Mine protected area and within municipal boundaries – is currently designated as Commissioner’s Land.

Henderson said the company’s main objectives in the quarry project was to find non-acidic bearing rock – or rock that doesn’t leach out high-level acids – and that it was in close proximity to Giant Mine.

John Henderson, chief operating officer of Deton Cho Construction, provided a presentation to city council on Feb. 17. The company, owned by the Yellowknives Dene First Nation, is requesting a leasehold on a quarry near Vee Lake.
Simon Whitehouse/NNSL photo

Councillors noted that it is adjacent to recreational traffic which brought some concern to some councillors.

Coun. Julian Morse asked if the company would be willing to restrict operations to business hours and between April and November so to restrict the heavy sounds of crushing and blasting of the quarry.

Henderson said it would be unlikely but it would depend on the contract it would receive from the Giant Mine Remediation team and that the company would abide by all regulatory requirements.

The company is also committed to “adequate signage and prohibitive barriers” to give notice to recreational users nearby. 

He noted that the project site is far away from both residential areas and Vee Lake Road itself so that noise would be a limiting issue.

“The project is far removed from residential areas and I realize noise can carry but i live in Niven and I’m much closer to the existing quarries at dump,” he said. “There is no noise effect on residents with the crushing operations that I know are going on at the dump. 

“From time to time depending on prevailing winds the noise from the blasts will carry but not the crushing operations.”

Mayor Rebecca Alty said the GNWT would need to approve the leasing of Commissioner’s Land for the use of resource extraction. City planning documents state this would be the most appropriate use for the land, which is zoned growth management.

“We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves because the GNWT may say ‘no, we are not leasing it to you,'” she said. “So we are at the first step to ask and then council will have to debate at a later date whether to approve permitting for quarrying or not.”

Henderson said over the next year the company is looking to complete all permitting to start the quarry and would like to be ready for when the Giant Mine remediation project starts. Ideally he would like to begin some work, including the construction of an access road to site, by the end of the summer.

“We are optimistic by next April, the Giant Mine remediation team will have their water license which will mean the trigger of substantial work would happen,” he said. “We would anticipate the demand for material to ramp up over the next decade.”

City  councillor Niels Konge said there is a need for quarries to provide aggregate to the city, on top of four other ones that exist within municipal boundaries.

We need rock in the city and we put rock on our roads and we put rock in our road and sewer infrastructure,” he said. “We need aggregate, so we have to have quarries. This quarry is in the Giant Mine zone and is certainly not close to downtown.

“That being said, I would like to see the city set an elevation where we can blast quarries to so that in the end it could be the next industrial subdivision or we can get and something other than just a great big hole in the ground.

Simon Whitehouse

Simon Whitehouse came to Yellowknife to work with Northern News Services in 2011. Simon obtained his journalism education at Algonquin College and the University of Ottawa. Simon can be reached at...

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