The provincial transportation ministry is polling trucking companies, truck drivers and truck parking lot companies about solutions to the current critical shortage of parking spaces for big commercial trucks in the Lower Mainland.
The online Lower Mainland Truck Parking Study “regarding truck parking options” will wrap up Nov. 25.
It is restricted to people in specific categories of the trucking industry and can be found at surveymonkey.com/r/LowerMainlandTruckParking.
The parking poll comes after Transportation Minister Todd Stone told the Cloverdale Chamber of Commerce the province acknowledges there is a serious shortage of parking and staging areas for larger commercial trucks across the Lower Mainland and the province is now aiming to open new ones.
“We are exploring a number of potential locations South of the Fraser for short-term parking facilities between Abbotsford and Delta to improve efficiency and reduce congestion,” Stone said, calling the problem a “top priority.”
Stone said staging areas may be opened with private partners who could offer additional amenities.
The problem is especially bad in Surrey, where that city has estimated about half of the more than 12,000 heavy trucks registered there have no legal place to park.
A proposal to build a 77-acre truck park on 16 Avenue near the Surrey-Langley border has produced controversy because of its proximity to the Little Campbell River.
Phillip Milligan, president of the Little Campbell Watershed Society, said the river is an important salmon spawning area, home to spring, coho and chum salmon, as well as steelhead and cutthroat trout.
“The Little Campbell, believe it or not, is one of the most productive steelhead rivers in the Lower Mainland,” Milligan said.
Because it’s a relatively small river, any pollutants entering the water could be devastating for the fish population, he said.
Brian Coote, of Friends of Hazelmere Campbell Valley warned the truck park could contaminate Brookswood groundwater.
Another critic, Sofi Hindmarch, said the parking facility would go in an ecologically sensitive area where at least 13 and as many as 22 threatened species live.
The idea for a truck parking lot was raised by Surrey Councillor Tom Gill during a discussion of industrial development in the South Campbell Heights area.
Gill said with so many big rigs parking illegally throughout the city, something needs to be done.
He said he would insist on the highest environmental standards so there would be no impact on the Little Campbell River.
Based on what members of Surrey council have told their Langley Township counterparts, the proposal probably won’t proceed.
“It may not even get to council,” Langley mayor Jack Froese said following a dinner meeting of the two councils.
Details of the meeting with Surrey were revealed during debate at the Nov. 2 evening meeting of Township council, which voted to put off taking a position on the project until there is a detailed plan to look at, assuming the proposal ever gets to that stage.