Is Calgary Growth Founded on Ethical Gravel?

Calgary Herald
Letters to the Editor
For Publication

March 11, 2021

Is Calgary’s Growth Founded on Ethical Gravel?

No matter the development, be it residential, high rise, ring road or LRT extension, Calgary’s growth is gravel dependent. But, is this gravel ethically sourced? Much of it comes short haul and therefore dirt cheap from neighbouring Rocky View County where 20 pits supply Calgary. Soon Pit 21 will be added, but at a terrible cost.

At a recent “virtual” hearing where Rocky View Council dismissed over 100 opposing submissions, hearing only from the proponent, the first of four new mines was approved that stand to kill the springs that have created one of the Calgary area’s oldest, most iconic parks at Big Hill Springs. Springs destruction could affect half the flow into Big Hill Creek, threatening trout habitat, a lovely Cochrane stream and Calgary’s drinking water. Soon Calgary could be building with gravel from the Mountain Ash mine, situated on the park’s boundary and on the spring’s aquifer.  A pit producing unethical gravel.

Big Hill’s springs are ranked by Parks Canada as one of the top four mineral springs in Canada. They will be forever altered by a gravel mine virtually on top of them. Over thousands of years the springs have released minerals forming the rare tufa rock that water so prettily flows over and makes this small park such a local attraction. To destroy a park for common gravel is unconscionable and Calgarians should be appalled. They should also take action by making their views known to Alberta Environment Minister, Jason Nixon.


Vivian Pharis
V.P. Bighill Creek Preservation Society
Box 609
Cochrane, AB, T4C 1A7
403 932 2124

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AB Law & Impacts of Gravel Extraction on the Ecosystem of Big Hill Springs.

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