EDITORIAL: No solution in store

The Lower Mainland has a big truck problem – one that is spilling across municipal boundaries.

While it appears to Surrey’s neighbours that a controversial truck park along the Surrey-Langley border may not get very far, the underlying issue is unlikely to go away any time soon.

The Lower Mainland has a big truck problem in every sense of the word, one that is spilling across municipal boundaries.

There’s a serious shortage of parking and staging areas for big rigs, one that is especially acute south of the Fraser, particularly in Surrey, where that city estimates half of the more than 12,000 heavy trucks registered there have no legal place to park.

The situation will only get worse in Metro Vancouver, a port city that will need more and more trucks to handle the ever-increasing amount of international shipping traffic.

In a recent speech to the Cloverdale Chamber of Commerce, provincial Transportation Minister Todd Stone said a solution to the problem is now a “top priority” of the government.

The province, Stone said, was looking at potential locations south of the Fraser for short-term parking facilities.

After hearing that, it’s no wonder, then, that Surrey councillor Tom Gill might think a 77-acre truck park in the Campbell Heights neighborhood would be a step in the right direction.

Resistance, however, was quick and substantial, because the park would be located on 16 Avenue, close to the Little Campbell River, home to salmon and trout spawning.

People on both sides of the Langley-Surrey border have rightly and strongly expressed concern about potential environmental impact of having so many large trucks that close to the river, not to mention the possibility of even more big rigs travelling the already-busy 16 Avenue.

The surge of opposition may explain why a recent informal meeting saw Surrey council members tell their Langley Township counterparts the idea was unlikely to proceed.

“It may not even get to (Surrey) council,” Langley mayor Jack Froese said.

That would be good news for people worried about the effect of allowing truckers to wash their rigs, change oil and tires near the river.

But not so much for the truckers, who will still need a place to park their rigs.