Semi-trailer trucks and other heavy-goods vehicles may be allowed to park on Abbotsford’s residential and industrial streets, if recommendations by the mayor’s task force are passed.
The initiatives were developed to accommodate and support the fast growing business of trucking, and are listed in the document, Mayor’s Task Force on Commercial Truck Parking: Moving Forward.
A city-run public information meeting is being held tonight (Tuesday) from 6-8 p.m. at Abbotsford Exhibition Park Ag-Rec Gallery, 32470 Haida Dr., for people to voice their opinions.
Some locals are already expressing concerns over residential truck parking, including child safety and decreased property values.
Mayor George Peary points out the trucks that drive the local economy need somewhere to park.
“Virtually everything that goes in and goes out of Abbotsford is on rubber tires,” he said. “The trucking industry is a vital component to our economy … It provides us with fuel, food – everything we consume arrives by truck.”
In 2008, there were approximately 3,700 insured commercial vehicles in Abbotsford, according to ICBC.
And according to Statistics Canada, the truck transportation industry grew by 42.2 per cent between 1997 and 2006. In 2006, it was a $1.67-billion business in B.C.
There is currently a zoning bylaw in place that bans commercial vehicles more than 6.1 metres in length or 5,500 kg from being parked or stored in residential zones, except when enclosed within a building.
If the new proposal is accepted, a truck owner would have to apply to the city for a development variance permit to park residentially.
The city would send a notification letter to the applicant’s “abutting” neighbours, who would have to support the application.
In addition to the changes, it would take a “legitimate complaint” for the city to enforce the bylaw.
Another suggestion was of a pilot project, where specific streets in industrial areas would be used for overnight commercial truck parking, from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m.
The measures are meant to assist long-haul truckers who arrive at night and are unable to pick up or unload until the next morning.
Once implemented, city staff would monitor for compliance and complaints.
Another alternative was fast-tracking development applications for new or expanded commercial truck parking facilities on properties that aren’t located within the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR).
In addition, promoting the use of gravel pits and sites belonging to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure was also highlighted.
The proposal can be read in full online by visiting the city’s website at www.abbotsford.ca, and entering Mayor’s Task Force on Commercial Truck Parking: Moving Forward in the search engine.