Corvette Landing

Participants witnessed the Benefits of Guerdon’s Modular Technology firsthand!

SEATTLE – Developers, contractors, bankers, city officials, and other interested participants gathered at the construction site of the Cubix – North Park Micro-Apartments to witness the crane installation of Seattle’s first modular built micro-apartments built by Guerdon Modular Buildings, Boise, ID.

“Micro-apartments are one solution to our current affordable housing crisis,” said Daniel Stoner, owner and president of Parkstone Properties. “Modular construction provides an innovative tool to get affordable units to market quickly.”

Noting that the biggest challenge to providing affordable housing is controlling costs, Stoner highlighted three valuable cost controlling benefits Guerdon’s Modular Technology afforded him as a developer:

  • With Guerdon, 40% of project costs were locked in.
  • Guerdon’s modules were constructed in a less expensive labor market than Seattle’s labor market.
  • With a majority of the work performed in Guerdon’s factory, there were fewer subcontractors to manage onsite.

Now that the modules are installed, site crews are working on structural and MEP connections, finishing the corridors and site built first floor, and finishing the exterior of the building. The total construction timeline, from ground break to occupancy, is estimated to take only ten months. To learn more about this project, click here.

 

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Rocky View Land
Despite continued opposition from residents and members of council, a majority vote at a meeting July 25 will result in new gravel operations developed off Big Hill Springs Road.
File photo/Rocky View Publishing.

The Bearspaw area may soon be home to new aggregate operations, after two redesignation applications for gravel extraction were given third reading by Rocky View County (RVC) council at a meeting July 25.

This follows another aggregate redesignation approved by council July 11, adding three potential new pits in an area that already houses the Big Hill Springs gravel operation. Public hearings for the proposed redesignations brought forward several concerned county residents who spoke to the possible “cumulative impacts” of having multiple pits established in one area.

“Silica causes cancer, kidney disease, asthma, and other incurable diseases,” said Kim Magnuson, who spoke on behalf of Samanntha Wright and Rocky View Forward. “The risks are there, and with multiple pits, these risks are magnified.”

Magnuson added crystalline silica, which is released into the air during gravel extraction, impacts more than just those who work with it – the toxin can linger in the air for months and even travel hundreds of miles.

Residents speaking in opposition to the proposals also cited concerns regarding increased noise and traffic and the fact the applications were assessed in the absence of the county’s Aggregate Resource Plan (ARP), which is currently being developed and will be presented to council no later than March 2018.

Still, applications from both Lafarge Canada and McNair Sand and Gravel were given first and second readings at a meeting July 11, with opposition from some members of council. Without unanimous permission to proceed with third reading, the applications were brought back for consideration July 25.

Before approving the final application, however, council held an in-camera session to discuss a “demand letter” received from a county resident. The letter, which has been received by Rocky View Weekly with the name of the client redacted, demanded council adjourn third reading of the applications – until “sufficient assessment of the impacts” has been completed, and “proper consultation” is conducted with affected landowners.

“We understand there are numerous quarries already in operation, and that applications are being expeditiously progressed,” the letter stated. “In the event RVC proceeds with considering and approving (the applications), we have been instructed by our client to proceed with an application to the court for appropriate relief against RVC.”

Despite this demand, and despite continued opposition from councillors Jerry Arshinoff and Margaret Bahcheli, both motions for third reading were carried.

“If council started caving in to every request from every individual that has an opinion, we wouldn’t get anywhere,” said Reeve Greg Boehlke. “This resistance comes mostly from people who live nowhere near the gravel pits or any aggregate, and the letter came in far later than our circulation date allows.”

The letter was dated July 25, the same day as council’s regularly scheduled meeting. According to Boehlke, council “has no business” responding to legal threats, especially when the letter has been received “totally out of process.”

“Council’s job is not to be swayed by every wind that blows. We’re there to make decisions for the betterment of the entire county, and that’s what council did,” he said. “My thoughts are that there is no grounds there for anything, it’s just a disgruntled person. One person writing a demand letter is interesting, but it basically doesn’t respect the democracy that we live in.”
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Rocky View Gravel
Rocky View residents are expressing dismay at the number of gravel pits that have been approved for Big Hill Springs Road.

“Gravel is such a critical issue. Gravel is unambiguously an essential product, but it also has really serious health and safety implications,” said Janet Ballantyne, a member of the advocacy group Rocky View Gravel Watch.

Rocky View Council gave a third reading to rezone lands along the road based on aggregate applications at a meeting on Tuesday, July 25.

Rocky View Gravel Watch had been actively trying to appeal to council to create an aggregate resource policy (ARP) for the safety of residents, before the approval of new gravel pits.

Ballantyne said she is concerned that Rocky View council has placed to much power in aggregate companies in allowing them to attempt to set health and safety standards for the community, before creating an ARP.

“Gravel pits should be located to minimize the impact on residents, that’s one of the big points we have to make,” said Ballantyne.

The approval brings the total to four aggregate pits owned by Summit Aggregates, Lafarge Canada, McNair Sand and Gravel and the already operational Hillstone Aggregates spread along Big Hill Springs Road.

“The health risks and the traffic issues risks are so high. It makes sense to locate gravel pits where they won’t have negative impacts on the people who live in the county,” said Ballantyne.

These approvals have moved forward despite the lack of an active ARP in place for the county.

“For the county to push forward knowing that in a relatively short order they will have an ARP in place, makes no sense in caring about and being responsible for residents,” said Ballantyne.

The ARP will potentially not to be released and adopted until March 2018.

“I’m incredibly disappointed in the country, because the county should be concerned in protecting the health and safety of it’s residents, not in facilitating the gravel companies,” said Ballantyne.

The master site development plan has yet to be released for the recently approved aggregate sites, and Ballantyne said that this provides county council and Rocky View residents a chance to speak up with safety apprehensions.

“One of the real concerns is how they’re rushing didn’t have the ability to look at the technical studies, without being able to see the technical studies there’s was no way to confirm if the staffs assessment is correct,” said Ballantyne.

A freedom of information act request was the only option for the watchdog group to receive this information, but the technical study was not made available in time for the group.

“Residents lack that sense of confidence that the conclusions that are being drawn are valid,” said Ballantyne.
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