Construction of the new Morton Gravel Pit, located south of Delia in Starland County, is on hold due to a number of archaeological finds uncovered in the area.
The approval process for the gravel pit began in the summer of 2019 and, following proper procedures, a Historical Resources Impact Assessment was conducted by Stantec Consulting in May 2020.
“Original estimate of $31,000 to do the assessment, but after two days of investigations it was determined that there were heavy concentrations of artifacts in five areas over the 40 acre parcel that needed more time to land form the findings,” said Ken Menage, public works supervisor for Starland County.
Following the discovery, Starland County faced additional costs of $25,000 due to the change in the scope of work.
“On September 8, 2020 we received our final Historical Resources Impact Assessment report along with recommendations to do more work next year with extra costs broke down to certain areas and scope of work,” Menage added.
Areas 2 and 3 have been completed, and work to complete the remaining three sites is estimated to cost Starland County approximately $225,000.
It has been recommended Starland County proceed with work on Area 5--which is estimated will cost $30,000--as it has the lowest cost and contains the most gravel.
Area 1 is estimated at $105,000, and Area 4 at $90,000.
Menage told the Mail, “All recommendations for more work will be reviewed and approved by the ACMSW (Alberta Ministry of Culture, Multiculturalism and Status of Women).”
Starland County is currently waiting for approval from the ministry and Menage estimates work “likely will not proceed until the spring of 2021.”