Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Lafarge North America wants to talk with Lockport residents about their expansion plans, then keep that conversation going with the creation of a community advisory group.
That’s the message the company gave Tuesday at an informational meeting for residents. Lafarge also wants to hear concerns and questions from residents, officials said.
”We want input, we want feedback, we want to talk to our neighbors,” Lafarge area manager Perry Galdenzi told the attendees.
Lafarge officials have said the company’s Lockport operation needs to expand the Hinman Road quarry in order to stay in business. The company has been buying up properties along Hinman with the goal of mining the land.
The city and town line runs through the quarry, meaning approval must come from Dysinger Road and 1 Locks Plaza. At a Jan. 6 meeting, the city Planning Board granted a two-year extraction permit and recommended to the Common Council a one-year special-use permit be granted to Lafarge.
Lafarge is seeking approval for mining a 15-acre city parcel it purchased about six years ago. The company intends to mine stone from 9.1 acres of that parcel.
The expansion, which is at what is still officially called Redlands Quarry even though Lafarge acquired the business several years ago, is near a 162-foot-wide strip on the edge of the quarry that the Town of Lockport allowed Lafarge to mine in December 2012.
The recommendation for the city parcel is conditional on a report from Norman D. Allen, city director of engineering and public works. Allen will investigate whether or not the blasting at the quarry will affect the city’s water supply line, which runs along Hinman.
There was concern about the water line and a nearby gas line. Some specific concerns will be addressed in the near future, Lafarge said.
“I can’t allow you to do this, until you can absolutely guarantee my waterline and 25,000 people’s waterline, is safe,” said city 4th Ward Alderman Patrick W. Schrader.
The current Lafarge quarry on the north side of Hinman employs about 40 people. About half of the business is providing asphalt that meets state Department of Transportation standards for use in road and bridge projects.
Galdenzi told Tuesday’s attendees there’s a few paving projects coming up that will need Lafarge’s stone. That includes a few bridges on the Interstate 190 that runs by the Niagara Power Authority in Niagara Falls.
Lafarge said the town strip combined with the city parcel will keep Lafarge going in Lockport for another three to five years. The company is seeking permission from the Town of Lockport to expand to the south side of Hinman, where Lafarge has bought property in recent years.
Galdenzi said Lafarge also needs approval from the state Department of Environmental Conservation. The entire process could take two to three years.
Similar meetings like Tuesday’s are expected to be held in the future, Galdenzi said. The community advisory group is expected to meet on a regular basis.Contact reporter Joe Olenick at 439-9222, ext. 6241 or follow him on Twitter @joeolenick.