New truck parking lots being opened by the province could, in some cases, be located on agricultural land, Transportation Minister Todd Stone said after unveiling the first site in North Delta.
The first overnight parking area for 40 trucks at Highway 91 and Nordel Way will be open by late 2016 and other potential sites are being identified from Surrey to Abbotsford.
They’re supposed to reduce the problem of big rigs congesting residential streets or being parked illegally on farmland.
But Stone did not rule out using agricultural land for some of the sites.
“It could potentially,” he told Black Press, adding that would require approval of the Agricultural Land Commission.
“There will be no short circuiting of the ALC process whatsoever for any of the potential sites that we’re looking at.”
Stone said six or seven potential sites are under consideration in Surrey, at least one is expected in Abbotsford to serve long-haul truckers using Highway 1, and another would be placed near Deltaport for container truckers.
Sites can’t be right next to residential neighbourhoods, he noted.
“This is going to reduce congestion and benefit communities and the related lands,” Stone said.
The new location in Delta is unpaved provincial land currently used as a Mainroad Contracting road maintenance yard, and will offer washrooms, a sani-dump, lighting and garbage bins. The project cost is expected to be a couple million dollars.
The development of dedicated lots to address the serious shortage of truck parking was one plank of Stone’s provincial transportation plan, which includes other measures aimed at making trucking more efficient.
A review of pilot car requirements for heavy trucks is also underway.
B.C. Trucking Association president and CEO Louise Yako welcomed the initiative, saying parking trucks is a major challenge in urban areas.
She said it will be safer and more convenient for truckers and the general public will benefit “because truck drivers will be more rested and able to do their jobs well.”
The City of Surrey has previously estimated about half of the more than 12,000 heavy trucks registered within Surrey have no legal place to park, and that dozens of acres of new land are needed every year to accommodate growth in trucking.
Too many trucks clogging residential streets and even farmland in Surrey and surrounding communities.