(Chris Hopkins started a series for quarry owners based on what do you do, now that you have won your planning permit)
By Chris Hopkins
Senior Vice President for aggregates and mining, The Saint Consulting Group
You have received your permits and you are ready to open for business. Looking back on the bruising, time consuming and expensive permitting process, you grumble over the cost and what might have been said to you during the public process.
You need to remember that it was only business it was not personal. This was strictly business, both on your part and the part of the opposition. Realizing it was only business would allow you to take the necessary steps to embrace your opponents.
The most fundamental aspect of having a good relationship with your community is an open line of communication. Having a designated person who the neighbors can call with complaints and compliments is an easy way to avert a great deal of problems.
One employee should be designated take on this responsibility, avoiding confusion and miscommunication. This person should be aware enough to respond to every question and complaint that may come in within 48 hours. You may not be able to satisfy the person or solve their issue, but you must get back to them. The worst possible outcome would be that they tell the city, county or local reporter that you did not even respond to their question or inquiry. That demonstrates that you do not care. A call back will be noted and appreciated even if the resident does not get the resolution that they were seeking. Being on top of this will prevent most calls of complaint to the local city councilor or county commissioner.
You need to stay on top of your daily operations. One of the harshest complaints we have heard while canvassing for one specific operator was that there was no consistency at all in the blasting schedule. The shots were taken at all hours of the day, and no notification was given.
In that case we encouraged our client to have as consistent a blasting schedule as they possibly could. We also arranged an email blast that would go out an hour before an anticipated shot as well as an automated phone call that went to registered homes, again warning of the upcoming shot.
Other parts of your daily operations to stay on top of that cost little if nothing but go a long way in creating good will in the community include, ensuring that all trucks leaving the site have been treated for dust and ensuring that the trucks obey all of the local traffic laws.
These are small simple steps that can be taken that will positively increase your visibility in the community and enrich your reputation as a good corporate neighbor.
Chris Hopkins is senior vice president for aggregates and mining, The Saint Consulting Group, email firstname.lastname@example.org, phone 615-656-3794