32 Ave Alliance 'embarrassed' by lack of Surrey letter
A group of concerned citizens who want 32 Avenue removed as a designated truck route appeared as a delegation before the TransLink board Wednesday morning, bolstered by the fact the City of Surrey supported them with a motion at its Oct. 17 council meeting.
But the 32nd Avenue Community Alliance only learned that support was not in writing when they made their Dec. 7 presentation to TransLink.
"There was supposed to be a letter from the City of Surrey, and that wasn't there," said Pauline Cremin, a member of the alliance.
"We were really quite embarrassed."
Vincent Lalonde, Surrey's general manager of engineering, said Friday the council motion was to refer the issue to the transportation committee, which was supposed to meet Nov. 9, but didn't due to a lack of quorum (enough people to vote).
The next transportation committee meeting is tentatively set for Dec. 19, when the mayor is to appoint a chair for the committee, Lalonde said.
Lalonde said the city needs to "clarify what the TransLink board wants from the city," and how they expect to assess the city's request (to have 32 Avenue removed as a designated truck route).
According to minutes from the Oct. 17 meeting, letters were supposed to be written by the city, but no timeframe was indicated. The minutes also state that Mayor Dianne Watts recommended the alliance make their presentation directly to the TransLink board.
"In terms of TransLink, the City of Surrey will provide the delegation with both letters and supplemental information regarding historical requests made to the ministry," the minutes state.
"Staff were asked to send a letter of endorsement to the TransLink board on behalf of council requesting a delegation for Ms. Cremin."
As well, the minutes state that council requested "that this item will be included as an ongoing item on the transportation committee agenda," along with the issue of diesel trucks, which is also listed on the Metro Vancouver agenda.
Lalonde noted there has been progress since the Oct. 17 meeting; since Watts sent a letter to the Ministry of Transportation asking that ministry gravel trucks stop using the 32 Avenue route, which has been busy because of the South Fraser Perimeter Road project. About 15 to 25 per cent of the truck traffic was gravel trucks, Lalonde said, with many of those under ministry control.
The ministry listened, he said.
"We went and re-assessed and found that in westbound traffic, there was a 34 per cent reduction," he said.
Another alliance member, Ross Buchanan – who challenged Watts in the Nov. 19 election, finishing second with 6,267 votes to her 55,826 – has noted in the past that the group realizes the city is "dealing with a mistake that was made years ago," when development plans for Campbell Heights were initially made.
But the 32 Avenue corridor is too narrow for truck traffic, not to mention the safety, health and noise concerns it raises for those living in the area (near 32 Avenue, west of 176 Street), Cremin said.
She said the presentation at TransLink went well.
"They were great. They listened to us, but there was no letter (from the city). That's required for them (TransLink) to move forward," Cremin said.
While she's optimistic a motion to remove truck traffic from 32 Avenue will eventually succeed, Cremin said she understands it won't happen overnight.
"We're here for the long haul."