Closure of truck traffic affects Powell River logging operation

Company asks for short-term exemption to come up with safe solution behind Cranberry Lake

Closure of the Cranberry Street section of road from Haslam Street to Manson Avenue to heavy vehicles is affecting truckers who have been users of that part of the roadway.

In a letter to mayor and council introduced at City of Powell River’s committee of the whole meeting on Tuesday, May 14, Tla’amin Lake Contracting indicated that closure of that section of road to industrial users is cause for concern.

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Tla’amin Lake Contracting manager Kevin McKamey said in June 2018, he and two other industry representatives met with city officials following a complaint from a Cranberry resident about the danger of logging trucks using Cranberry Street behind Cranberry Lake. McKamey said there was an agreement to impose a 30 kilometre per hour speed limit on vehicles from the water reservoir on Haslam Street to the fire hall in Cranberry to be respectful to Cranberry residents.

“We continued to haul logs on this route until December 2018, with no issues or safety concerns,” the letter stated. “From January to now we have been out or town for another logging job.

“Flash forward to a month ago and with absolutely no communication, public works put up signage that closed the section of Cranberry Street from Haslam Street to Manson Avenue.”

McKamey asked the city about the reason for the change, and why there had been no consultation or communication with industrial users on this road. The reply was that mayor and council directed staff to make this change immediately.

The letter stated that without a single phone call the city has affected the financial well-being and safety of the business and its employees.

The change in the haul route forces logging trucks to turn left on Yukon Avenue from Haslam Street and access Manson Avenue from Cassiar Street, which will cause some congestion and safety concern for the drivers.

The letter stated that Tla’amin’s community forest agreement has roughly 60 per cent of its tenure accessed through the Cranberry Street routing.

“I would like you to grant an exemption to Tla’amin Timber Products Ltd. for hauling through the closed section for the short term to allow us to sit down with municipal staff to come up with a safe solution to this problem,” the letter stated.

Mayor Dave Formosa said that he, along with councillor Rob Southcott, contacted the forest company; the letter writer, thanked him for his correspondence and had a discussion about the letter. Formosa said he was pleased that city staff had met with them.

Formosa said he and council members had been inundated with letters up until a decision was made on the change to the routing of the trucks.

He said the city came up with a ruling and that the trucking industry should have been contacted. Maybe a couple of weeks could have been allocated to allowing the truckers to get used to the changes and explaining what changes were coming, according to the mayor.

“Maybe we fell down in that area,” said Formosa.

Councillor George Doubt, chair of the committee of the whole, said he read the letter and Tla’amin Lake Contracting was being a good corporate citizen, asking the drivers to slow down when the problem was first identified.

Doubt said he had taken the time to assess traffic along the Manson Avenue corridor by the Cassiar intersection.

“It’s a busy street; I knew trucks were going to be coming by and I waited for about 15 minutes and had a look at what was going on in the intersection,” said Doubt. “About 100 cars went by in the 15 minutes. I waited for a logging truck to come along and they do have to cross the oncoming lane of traffic when they are making that turn, so they have to wait for a good time [to turn].”

Doubt said the truck made the turn safely and following the traffic regulations. It takes a little longer than it may have taken before on the old route but he thinks the residents along Cranberry Street are happier with the solution.

Councillor Rob Southcott said there is still large truck traffic on the section of Cranberry Street behind the lake, including logging trucks. He said he had heard that the RCMP could not enforce the closure to heavy vehicles.

Formosa said it was discouraging to hear that not everybody is following the rules. He said bylaw officers can issue tickets. He also said the RCMP have the ability to deal with bylaw infractions in the city.

“We will bring that up with the RCMP at our next meeting,” said Formosa.

The committee gave consent to receive and file the letter from Tla’amin Lake Contracting.

 
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