A dump truck travels along 32 Avenue

32 Avenue residents ready to fume in South Surrey

Diesel-exhaust opponents plan to be out in force Saturday, at a rally on 32 Avenue.

Residents of 32 Avenue are reigniting their fight to get diesel trucks off of the South Surrey thoroughfare between 152 and 176 Streets.

“If you care… you should be there,” an email advising of a Nov. 17 rally at the corner of 154 Street and 32 Avenue states.

Area residents have been tackling the issue routinely since 2003.

In 2011, they formed the 32nd Avenue Alliance, to oppose plans to expand the roadway to five lanes to accommodate trucks travelling to and from the Campbell Heights industrial area.

Group members – representing residents in Morgan Creek, Rosemary Heights, Kensington Prairie and Grandview Heights – cited public health, public safety and noise as their prime concerns, estimating more than 1,000 diesel trucks currently pass through their neighbourhood every day.

Alliance member Pauline Cremin said Friday those concerns have yet to be abated.

Saturday’s rally is being staged just three weeks prior to an anticipated TransLink board vote on whether or not to remove 32 Avenue’s designation as a truck route, she said.

“We’re anticipating a lot (of people), because they’re very concerned…very anxious,” Cremin said.

In October 2011, Surrey city council gave unanimous approval to a motion to request that TransLink remove the road’s designation as a truck route.

While initially bolstered by the news, alliance members were later disappointed to learn that that support was not put in writing but was instead referred to the city’s transportation committee.

Then-Coun. Bob Bose told Peace Arch News at the time that the motion provided “no certainty at all that TransLink will remove the designation.”

Cremin said a letter from Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts was delivered to TransLink in January, and further strides were made, including formation of a task force by TransLink to look into the issue.

Alliance members were part of a roundtable meeting, she said, but are concerned that health issues have not been considered.

“We are very nervous (about the  vote), because we do know there was no health professional on their board of directors,” she said.

Cremin pointed to provincial guidelines that call for schools, homes and long-term facilities to be setback a minimum 150 metres from truck routes. In her neighbourhood, some homes are less than 10 metres from the road, she said.

She also noted that the World Health Organization in June declared diesel exhaust a “group one carcinogen alongside the likes of plutonium 239, arsenic and asbestos.”

“Diesel is deadly, it kills people.”

Saturday’s rally is planned for 11 a.m.

 

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