Ditch truck park proposal

Plan for South Surrey not budget friendly or environmentally sound.

Re: “Truck park planned near Little Campbell River,” The Leader, Sept. 18.

I strongly oppose such a development, especially as it lies in an environmentally sensitive area along salmon streams that are already under stress by development and dramatically increased road run-off in South Surrey. Building appropriate truck parking is risky financially and detrimental environmentally.

I spent several hours reading through a corporate report to the mayor and council for April 2, 2007 detailing the results of a Surrey Sustainable Truck Parking Study. The study found that a city-funded large-scale truck parking lot was one of the least favourable ideas proposed.

Of the 12 different options they looked at, the people who did the study were very clear that for the city to build a parking lot for trucks had several major drawbacks:

• The environmental impacts of a spill or other pollution-causing incident;

• Potentially unhealthy levels of particulate matter;

• Reducing availability of industrial lands for higher-value uses;

• A deficit of over $16,500 per month for a 10-acre site (estimates from 2006);

The best ideas involved small alterations to zoning bylaws to bring them in line with Agricultural Land Reserve  requirements and with neighboring municipalities. These options have several benefits, including:

• Increased parking options for trucks;

• Potentially reduced demand for commercial lots;

• Maintain long-term development potential of industrial lands;

• Maintain the ALR land base and parks land base;

• Lower particular matter emissions at parking sites;

• Smaller risk of fuel and oil spills.

Spreading out the impact of truck parking is much cheaper for the city and has less of an impact on the environment.

The report also said that since trucking is largely a port activity, the ports should help find or develop parking for the large trucks.

Though it involves longer and more involved studies, discussions, and research, it might be best to work with the province on this issue. Many truckers in Surrey are actually servicing other parts of the Lower Mainland, putting undue pressure on Surrey to take the financial responsibility for services used in other municipalities.

South Surrey is already sacrificing the highest tree canopy percentages in Surrey to high-density development. Unmitigated urbanization is increasing road run-off into salmon streams hundreds of times greater than it was 10 years ago.

Developing a truck parking lot right on a sensitive salmon stream would certainly reduce water quality to levels unusable by salmon fry.

Also, the proposed site is on post-glacial gravel deposits, which have very little pollution amelioration ability – oil and fuel spills would leak right through to the stream.

Please reject this proposal and adopt one of the more budget-friendly and environmentally sound options.

 

Alisa P. Ramakrishnan, Surrey

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