Big Hill Springs Provincial Park in the cross hairs of gravel pit company.
March 2nd there will be a public hearing regarding an application for a new quarry near Big Hills Spring provincial park. This park attracts 250 000 people yearly and is adored by Cochranites. The closest pit mine proposed by Mountain Ash LP will be located only 1200 meters from Provincial Park boundaries. During the excavation process, they will dig within 1 meter of the water table over the aquifer that feeds the Big Hill springs and creek. This development would have a detrimental effect on the river systems and fish population, not to mention the beauty of this provincial park.
Big hills spring provincial park is a great alternative to those looking to spend time outdoors without having to drive hours to get to the mountains. It is a great place to go on a hike or to have a picnic. The creek holds a small population of different trout species and was once a habitat for the elusive and endangered bull trout. On top of having these beautiful natural attractions, the provincial government spent 1.2 million dollars in renovations of its facilities in 2020.
Although a quarry appears harmless in comparison to something like a coal mine, the extraction of gravel and rock can have harmful environmental impacts. Gravel acts as a filter for the aquifers below. Filtering out pollutants such as pesticides, herbicides and fuel spills. Important protection considering the park is surrounded by farmland. There is also a sort of irony here in that they are going to remove this protective layer with heavy machinery which will leak fuel. Additionally, the development of quarries can release high levels of selenium into the water . Big hill springs in a tributary to the bow river this means that these chemicals will have negative affects on the fish populations in the bow river. Sound familiar? (Albertan's vs Coal)
Alberta appears to be at a critical point, and the decisions we make today will determine if its natural beauty we have come to know and love will be present in the future. If you want to voice your opinion about this issue and have your comments considered during the public hearing email firstname.lastname@example.org on Tuesday, March 2nd at 9:00 am