Surrey works on co-op solution to tackle truck parking

SURREY — While it’s far from a done deal, Surrey is working with a group on a creative solution to the city’s truck parking shortage.

Coun. Tom Gill said he’s "strongly encouraging" one group to look at a "co-op style" solution.

"In essence what you’d have is one person able to buy a spot on an acre versus them having to buy a whole acre," he explained. "Roughly you’re looking at 22 to 25 trucks on an acre, subject to internal roads you may have and how it’s laid out."

Gill, who chairs the city’s transportation and infrastructure committee, sees the "non-traditional route" as the only way to solve the city’s truck parking woes. Under this concept, the truckers would manage themselves, he said, like other stratified operations.

He said he’s been in contact with a particular group for just under a year, but wouldn’t say where the potential site is located, or who the group was.

"They’re going through the business piece to see if the business plan makes sense or not," Gill explained.

"Now really there’s a big city process that needs to be gone through to see whether it would make sense from a planning and engineering perspective. Planning hasn’t said no and they think this has potential," he said, adding, "preliminary conversations at a high level at engineering suggests the site could be supported."

Gill isn’t aware of any "fully improved" truck parks in Surrey.

"When I’m speaking of fully improved, I’m speaking of sites that are fully asphalted and have storm water detention ponds and the ability to hold water and oil separators. That environmental piece is really important," he said.

According to Gill, the reason it’s been difficult to see truck parks built in Surrey is due to rising land prices, and also because of the high costs associated with developing and servicing such operations.

"The majority of the spots we do have, they’re interim uses. The concern I have over time is that as these sites get developed, these spots are going to be pushed out," thus creating an even larger problem, said Gill.

There are roughly 6,000 trucks weighing more than 5,000 kilograms registered in Surrey according to vehicle registration data. The city says of those, 2,400 park at a business, 2,312 on Temporary Use Permit (TUP) sites and 300 on the Agricultural Land Reserve. Another 1,000 are otherwise illegally parked.

Meanwhile, in the province’s 10-year transportation plan announced Tuesday, it committed to constructing at least two new truck parking areas in the Lower Mainland.

Gill was glad to see the province acknowledging the issue in its plan but would have liked to see specific dollar amounts committed.

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