Saint John council has approved a rezoning application that will allow the extension of a gravel pit on Latimore Lake Road despite opposition from some nearby residents.
The rezoning proposal was opposed by many neighbours who feel there are too many pits in the Latimore Lake area in east Saint John.
But Steve Langille, the owner of Fundy Bay Sand and Gravel, said he was elated as he left the council chambers on Monday night after four grueling hours of hearings on his rezoning application.
It was Langille's third attempt in eight years to gain approval to expand his gravel pit onto adjacent land.
He told Saint John councillors his current pit site is exhausted.
"Finally we have a council that wants this city to grow," he said.
"I'm going to be able to start employing people again. We can turn the corner here."
The company has operated its existing gravel pit in the area since the 1970s.
Langille agreed to terms that will mean the new pit will operate Monday to Friday, there will be no blasting on the site and the company will continue rehabilitation work on its existing pit.
The former Saint John council nixed an application from Langille’s business in July 2011. Bruce Court, who was a city councillor at the time, said then that he didn’t think local citizens wanted the gravel pit.
Langille said he was thankful the new council was willing to allow the zoning change.
"They're willing to take a chance and give me a chance, which I deeply appreciate," he said.
"But I think they're doing the job people voted them in to do. They want to see Saint John growing again, they're tired of seeing it going backwards."
Langille’s application did not go without opposition. Many people packed into the council chambers to listen to the debate.
The policy change by the new council left many people who live in the Latimore Lake area unhappy.
Tim McGrath said he was furious with the council’s decision to allow the gravel pit’s rezoning application to pass.
"And if they think this is going to settle any problems out there it's not. They're going to be even worse now," Tim McGrath said.
There are four gravel pits in the area, making dump trucks a common sight in the area. And Latimore Lake Road is narrow and much of it is without sidewalks.