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Surrey looking at opening 4 commercial truck parking sites in North Surrey

This would amount to 150 parking spaces being made available on a collective 6.5 acres
Photo: Anna Burns

Surrey city council plans to use city property for commercial truck parking at four locations in North Surrey, amounting to 150 parking spaces made available on a collective 6.5 acres.

A corporate report by city engineering manager Scott Neuman brought before council on Monday, March 11 recommended temporary use and truck parking facility permits, as well as licensing agreements, for Prudential Transportation Ltd. at several sites “in order to address the ongoing shortage of truck parking spaces in the city.”

The addresses include in the first site 13119, 13123 115A Ave., 13132/34 115B Ave. and 11561 132 St., at the second site 12875 112B Ave., at the third site 17768 96 Ave. and at the fourth, 18949 52 Ave.

Surrey Mayor Brenda Locke says the importance of commercial trucking is often taken for granted.

“I think it’s really important that we support truck parking. Our economy on wheels in Surrey is trucking and the majority of truckers in Metro Vancouver live and work in this area and truck parking is at a premium, and we need truck parking for people that are trying to work in our city,” she told the Now-Leader.

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”You know, everybody needs trucking to get goods to market and I think we don’t always think of how important they are to the economy, but they’re very important to the economy so the city is working to find ways to help individual truck owners with truck parking. It’s one of those things that I think people ignore – certainly at Metro Vancouver tables they always ignore it, but everybody needs trucking. Everything you buy at the grocery store, everything you use in your household, trucking probably got it to you.”

Locke alluded to this project in her first State of the City Address on Feb. 15.

Neuman noted in his report that Surrey has had a “significant shortfall of truck parking spaces for the transportation industry for a considerable duration of time,” which has led to an array of issues including bylaw infractions for overweight truck parking, unauthorized use of designated truck routes, and “negative ramifications for Surrey businesses and residents including noise complaints, safety concerns, damage to roads, diesel fumes and oil leaks. A contributing factor toward these issues is the lack of available parking spaces for large commercial vehicles.”

Parking for Surrey-based trucks will be prioritized, Neuman said. The City of Surrey will clear trees, import and compact gravel fill, and construct driveways to access the sites, with the parking to be on gravel.

“The city’s proposed 2024-2025 budget includes a one-time, capital investment of $2 million in general revenue for this initiative, which will be recovered through the recommended license agreement fees and related property taxes,” Neuman added.

Meantime, the Canadian Trucking Association of B.C. is calling the plan a “piecemeal approach” and that 150 parking spaces is nowhere near enough and “will not make a meaningful dent in the shortage of truck parking in the city and will not have any meaningful impact on the situation,” according to a press release it issued. Amit Kumar, president of the association, says “the need for more than 2,000 spots in Surrey, and 5,000 spots in Metro Vancouver overall, will not be resolved by such a piecemeal approach. The city, Metro Vancouver and the province need to resolve this collectively on a larger priority basis.

“The issue has been left unresolved for more than 20 years and the planners and politicians have never shown any real intention to resolve this issue. They need to get this issue resolved in partnership with the industry before it is too late,” Kumar said.

Coun. Linda Annis also weighed in.

“This is really a temporary solution, when what we need as a city and region is a real solution,” she said. “The Canadian Trucking Association of BC says we are short 2,000 truck parking spaces. It’s an issue of particular interest here in Surrey because so many of the region’s drivers and trucking companies are based right here.

“This has been an issue for at least 20 years, and has only become more concerning as Surrey truckers struggle to find legal places to park after their workday. As a result, many feel forced to break bylaws which costs them fines and irritates neighbours. We need to do better than temporary solutions.”

Annis said truckers, city hall, and the provincial government need to sit down and look at realistic options for Surrey and the region.

“We all forget how much the trucking industry means to our economy,” Annis said. “There’s nothing glamorous about truck parking, but without designated parking locations and practical solutions, we are jeopardizing our local industry, and the supply chain we all count on to deliver absolutely everything we need and use every day.”

Before the vote, Coun. Harry Bains called it “an amazing start.

“But we still need to do more for the trucking community,” he added. “These people have been patient for far too long. Unfortunately, they’ve been ignored by council after council so I’m happy to say that we’re the first council that has actually delivered new, tangible parking spots for these truck operators.”

Coun. Mandeep Nagra asked why just one company is in charge of four parking areas. Neuman replied that the city received six submissions and Prudential “provided the best business plan.”

Coun. Mike Bose challenged other cities “to do their part, because not all the trucks are from Surrey, not all the drivers are from Surrey – we need a regional approach to this, so I would dearly love to see other municipalities come up with parking spaces for the trucks that are originating in their communities as well.”

Coun. Rob Stutt echoed that.

“We have to get our neighbours to help with this too,” he said.

Locke said the provincial government “also has to step up” beyond the 100-space truck park it’s “working on” near the Port Mann Bridge, which is expected to open this Spring.

“I think we need to stay on top of the province on this one too,” she said, “because this is the economy of this region and it’s something people like to shove off to Surrey just because we do have so many truckers here.”

About the Author: Tom Zytaruk

I write unvarnished opinion columns and unbiased news reports for the Surrey Now-Leader.
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