A proposed gravel mine in Yellowstone County near the Yellowstone River has some people in nearby neighborhoods upset this evening.
FirstMark Materials is the company applying for Oscar's Gravel Pit to be constructed. Ed Walker is the business manager for First Mark Construction and explained a little more about the gravel mine.
"Once we're done with the completion of the gravel pit," Walker said. "Once it's been mined, it's going to be the largest pond in Yellowstone County and they're going to be using it as an area for recreation."
Walker said the site will sit on 120 acres of land on the intersection of wise lane and story road in Yellowstone County. It will take about 15 years to completely mine the gravel out of that area. Walker said that gravel will be used to produce agregate for buildings, roads, and other civil-type projects.
"It would really benefit the community is it gives customers more choice and lower prices for their commodity goods like agregate," Walker said.
The Canyon Creek Task Force doesn't see it that way.
Amy Sironi said there's alot of safety issues that would follow.
"One, it's a huge safety issue, traffic safety, just potential contaminate safety," Sironi said. "Our water supply is in question. The Yellowstone River safety and the contaminants that could potentially touch the Yellowstone River. That's Billngs' water supply."
Julie Prociv said businesses around the area will be affected.
"Well, there's an outdoor wedding venue so with the noise and the dust with the operation of the mine going from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., six days a week," Prociv said. "It would make it really difficult for her to continue holding weddings outside. Also, there's a hydronic operation called "Swanky Roots" which is a very innovative Montana business. Her fish, which feed the nutrients to the plants, are very sensitive to vibration and with the operation being right acoss the way from her, could destroy her business as well."
Walker said the company has had several public hearings in conjunction with the Department of Environmental Quality. He said the company understands the public's concerns and they're trying to do their part to ease those concerns. Members of the Canyon Creek Task Force say there's is one resolution that can be met halfway.
"We would love to see is the commissioners give us interim zoning, which is a year zoning," Sironi said. "Basically, covering this area stating that for a year, everybody gets to take back and really look at what the potential concerns are. We have a year breather, the DEQ can do their thing, they're not under a huge time constraint. The county commissioners can do their thing and potentially do what's best for the citizens of their county."
Walker says this gravel pit can help the community thrive.
"We're not new here and there's a lot of people who this is creating jobs for and maintaining jobs for in Yellowstone County," Walker said. "We're one of the largest tax payers in the state and also in Yellowstone County. I just think people should know who we are."