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City letter of support finally arrives for truck route opponents

Residents of 32 Avenue say delay by city of Surrey has undercut their case with TransLink.
A big rig rumbles past the home of 32 Avenue resident Maggie Bernet on Wednesday morning. The people who live along the South Surrey road want big trucks banned.

More than three months after residents of 32 Avenue were promised a letter of support from the City of Surrey for their fight to have big trucks moved off their street, Mayor Dianne Watts has sent a note to TransLink.

But its message wasn’t strong enough for at least one resident, who said the delay has harmed their campaign.

Surrey council voted Oct. 17 to back the 32 Avenue Community Alliance with a letter of support, but the letter didn’t go out in time for a Dec. 7 TransLink board meeting.

The missing endorsement surprised members who attended the transportation authority meeting on the mayor’s advice.

“We were really quite embarrassed,” alliance member Pauline Cremin said at the time.

Council minutes for the Oct. 17 discussion show it was Watts who suggested the alliance take their case directly to TransLink.

The letter sent by Watts is dated Jan. 23. The missive notes TransLink previously decided against removing 32 Avenue from the Lower Mainland truck route network between 1999 and 2003.

“However, on behalf of the 32 Avenue Community Alliance, I would like to request that TransLink reconsider removing 32 Avenue, between 152 Street and 176 Street in Surrey, from the Truck Route Network,” Watts writes.

Alliance member Maggie Bernet said it is not the whole-hearted endorsement residents were hoping for.

“It doesn’t mean anything,” Bernet told Peace Arch News Wednesday.

“They have been bouncing us around like a ball for so long. It’s just another stalling technique.”

Bernet said the delay by the city has weakened the residents’ case with TransLink.

“I’m just so disappointed,” she said. “Why does it take that many months to have a letter drafted?”

Surrey general manager of engineering Vincent Lalonde said his counterpart at the transportation authority has assured him the timing of the letter is not an issue and the question of trucks on 32 Avenue will be reviewed.

“TransLink will do their assessment now,” Lalonde said.

Lalonde blamed the delayed letter on a postponed transportation committee meeting that had been scheduled for Nov. 9 but could not proceed because the minimum number of council members failed to show up.

Lalonde said the letter was sent as soon as the committee had gone over the matter.

Bernet said she moved into a brand-new townhouse project in the 15400-block of 32 Avenue two years ago, only to discover the truck-route status meant a near-constant parade of heavyweight trucks just a few metres away.

“The house shakes and rattles. It feels like minor earthquakes all the time. I don’t know why a truck route has to be put through our dense neighbourhood.”

Lalonde said westbound truck traffic on the road has declined by a third since October because Watts lobbied the Ministry of Transportation to have gravel trucks under ministry control stop using the 32 Avenue route.



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Dan Ferguson

About the Author: Dan Ferguson

Dan Ferguson has worked for a variety of print and broadcast outlets in Canada and the U.S.
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