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Designated Truck Route - An Update

June 2019

Charla Robinson, President

On Monday, June 17th, City Council discussed and voted to defeat the proposed Designated Truck Route By-Law.

At the meeting, your Chamber of Commerce raised significant concerns with the proposed by-law language and the impacts it will have on business through added fuel costs, staffing costs, carbon output, vehicle maintenance, increased complexity and red tape. The concerns expressed are summarized below:

Section 2, Designated Truck Route: “Every driver of a vehicle having a registered gross weight of fifteen thousand kilograms or greater shall drive on the Designated Truck Route and/or on a provincial highway as more particularly described in Schedule A”.

Section 3, Exemptions: provides “a” through “i” as specific exemptions to Section 2 including allowing deliveries provided that the deviation from the DTR is nearest by road to where the delivery or service is performed and on completion of the conduct of business returning by the shortest route by distance to the DTR.

Interpretation:
Section 2 essentially says trucks can only drive on the Harbour Expressway, Main Street to 106th Ave or on Provincial Highways and can go off that route only using the shortest route that isn’t on the designated route.

Example of Impact/Business Concerns:
Sleeping Giant Brewery is located on McDonnell Street and needs to have their beer delivered to grocery and Beer Stores across the city. The locations include South side locations on Arthur Street, Gore Street, and Edward Street and multiple North side locations on Cumberland Street, River Street, Red River Road & Dawson Street. Based on this proposed by-law, a delivery truck of over 15,000 kgs would be required to travel back and forth to and from the Hwy 17 Expressway multiple times in order to comply with the new by-law adding at least 5 km of distance and 10 minutes to the delivery route compared to how those deliveries would be made today. This is just one example of one local company. This by-law will impact every business that has supplies delivered by truck and those businesses may face added costs, time, distance and carbon outputs in order to comply with this by-law.

Section 4, Weight Restricted Highways: adds further restrictions to the roads that can be used when not on the Designated Truck Route or Hwy 17 Expressway. Schedule B provides weight restrictions for 15,000 kg vehicles, it includes a list of 35 streets that are restricted and offers similar exemptions for deliveries where no alternative route is available.

Example of Impact/Business Concerns:
This will apply to vehicles such as cube vans and 5 tonne trucks and depending on interpretation may also be applicable to RVs and other trailers.

To date there has been little discussion about these weight restrictions and City Administration has provided no rationale for how or why these streets were identified to require such a restriction or why the restrictions are continuing under this new By-law that combines the designated truck route and the previous Heavy Load By-Law (87-2007).

We believe that many of the weight restricted streets proposed are unnecessary and add complexity that we consider to be red tape and not supportive of business growth and success.

One example is Red River Road which is weight restricted from Hwy 11/17 all the way to Cumberland Street even though this road is home to many retailers, restaurants, bars, and café’s that require multiple supply deliveries each week to operate but have no alternative to Red River Road to accept those deliveries.

We do not understand the justification for putting weight restrictions on a road that is so obviously in need of unfettered truck access for deliveries.

Similar concerns can be raised related to the 15,000 kg weight restrictions on Strand Avenue, Regina Avenue, and Picadilly Avenue where restrictions should not apply between Dawson Road and Walkover Street to eliminate delivery concerns for businesses on those streets.

In addition, Schedule C outlines weight restrictions for 28,000 kg vehicles on Arthur Street, Dawson Road, Government Road and Mapleward Road. There are businesses along many of these streets that require truck access. In particular, Arthur Street is a key access point for numerous truck dependent and trucking service businesses just outside of the city boundary.

Weight restrictions will reduce access to these businesses, increase costs for their operations and have the potential to result in lower business revenues and/or job losses. Approving this by-law is not supportive of these local businesses or the citizens that they employ and serve.

Section 7, Burden of Proving Exemption: places the burden of proving that an exemption applies onto the defendant.

Example of Impact/Business Concerns:
This section is very troubling, as it appears to go against our core Canadian values. Section 11(d) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms states: “Any person charged with an offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty according to law in a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal”.

We urge Council to reconsider this proposed approach, which puts the burden of proof onto the defendant, increasing operator risk and adding costs through the possibility of unnecessary police stops, fines and legal fees for delivery businesses and the customers they serve.

Next Steps:
We are awaiting further information from City Council regarding the next steps on this issue. We will provide an update on that process as it unfolds.

The Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce' advocacy work is made possible thanks to the generous support of our

Cornerstone Members:

                            

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