Doesn’t Solve Local Truck Parking Shortage 2017-12-04T21:48:15+00:00

Doesn’t Solve Local Truck Parking Shortage

A Mega Truck Stop in Hazelmere Campbell Valley Does NOT Address the Real Needs of Surrey Truckers

Why does this proposed truck parking facility fail to solve Surrey’s problem of illegally-parked, locally owned trucks?

Of truckers fined in Surrey for illegal parking, 52% are not registered in Surrey. To assess whether this proposal meets a real need, one needs to know where trucks actually spend days and nights and what municipality their owners reside in. The City of Surrey’s Sustainable Truck Parking Study (link) was done in 2007 and is based mostly on data from 2001-05. Little to no data appears to have been collected since this time, despite recommendations to do so. Because the statistics concerning movement and availability of suitable parking in Surrey is unknown, it is difficult to ascertain whether this location would meet the needs of local truckers.
The proponent, GG Metro Holdings, has sent mixed messages about the purpose of their facility (click here for more). To the Surrey Planning Department, they have applied for parking for approximately 1200 trucks. However, to stakeholders, GG Metro has admitted that the business plan of parking for local trucks is unrealistic and the real goal is to build a warehouse facility exceeding one million sq. ft. This freight handling facility would support hundreds of trucks associated with north/south cross border movements (not, therefore, Surrey residents’ trucks).

There are indications from the proponents that the proposed parking facility will be a “strata” type ownership of parking spots for truckers. It is unclear how much “strata ownership” would cost for local truckers and if they could afford it. Currently parking costs range from $150.00 per month to $400.00 per month. Most owner-operators have suffered vandalism and theft from their rigs, and thus require a secure location to park. Unfortunately for many truckers, the cost of secure parking is unaffordable.
A huge “grey market” has been created by companies and individuals wishing to earn a profit by letting a parking spot, often on private property and contrary to zoning and/or bylaws. As a result, many truckers – having no other recourse – park on farmland, in residential subdivisions, or wherever they can to avoid the high cost of parking.

Solving illegal truck parking needs purpose-built facilities that are cost effective for owner operators, located in proximity to where they live and work. For many this is near the South Perimeter Road in North Surrey, not 30 minutes south near the Canada-US Border. The majority of trucks needing parking are in Newton industrial area and along Fraser River. With no comprehensive studies undertaken since the 2006 Truck Report (which at that time documented that between 2001 and 2005, truck ownership grew by 50.1% in the area of Surrey North of the railway line/Colebrook Rd. from 5,284 to 7,932 trucks, while South of the line, truck ownership decreased by 19.7% from 466 to 374 trucks in the same time period), there is no evidence-based reason for saying that this location is the best one in Surrey that can solve the parking problem. In fact, it appears to be designed NOT to solve Surrey’s parking problem.

Truck parking facilities which are located a significant distance from the homes of truck operators means that the trucks have to be dropped off and the operator needs to then drive home. This leads to increased truck and vehicle traffic on roads. Commuting from North Surrey to a mere few blocks from the border will increase congestion. Indeed, a 2007 Corporate Report (R237) recounts the results of a City open house: 400 responding truckers conveyed the message that they would prefer low-cost, full service, centrally located truck parking facilities.

The Surrey Board of Trade & the BC Trucking Association support more truck parking for international/inter-provincial trucking companies to provide drivers place to rest in accordance with driver service hours. Meanwhile, the applicant behind the truck parking facility, GG Metro Holdings, has openly said it wants to attract business for cross-border trucks. It seems clear, therefore, that this proposal does not deliver on its promise to legally house the rigs of local truckers.
Surrey’s own consultants (in a 2007 report) cautioned against “mega” truck parks. In fact, the 2007 report recommends multiple small scale locations strategically placed throughout the municipality for efficiencies. It cautions against stand-alone mega-facilities. An analogous situation can be seen with Translink. Consider: if Translink were looking for a better parking spot for all their buses, what criteria would they use? Centrality of the parking lot to route beginnings and route endings for the sake of efficiency and convenience. To learn this, Translink would use relevant data — the same type of data consultants to the City of Surrey in 2006 made clear that is needed to solve the truck parking problem.

The sustainability issue is threefold.

  1. Sustainable Employment: According to the City of Surrey’s 2008 Employment Land Strategy Report the property in question is in an area slated as “employable” (hence the City’s Local Area Plan to ascertain what this might look like). But “employable” does not necessarily equate with “industrial.” It is not certain that truck parks and mechanized warehouses are better sources of employment than agricultural land which can be used for food production, tourism, vineyards, greenhouses, and more.
  1. Social Sustainability: This is a term the Surrey’s 2007 Sustainable Truck Parking report suggested as criteria for evaluating possible sites for truck parking. Social Sustainability requires that
    • Community values to be respected
    • Agricultural and park land be preserved
  1. Environmental Sustainability: Again, the 2007 Truck report suggested criteria regarding the environmental sustainability of truck parking. The report expressed
    • Locating the parking lots in reasonable proximity to drivers’ communities
    • Major concern over diesel truck emissions impact on human health. Authors of the report state: “A recent U.S. Review of studies on the effects of diesel particulate matter emissions came to the conclusion that both long term and acute exposure to fine particles can lead to serious health impacts including premature death.

The Hazelmere Campbell Valley location is not the solution to solving Surrey’s illegal local truck parking with this application. The City of Surrey “mega-truck/warehousing” proposal is a ‘hail mary’ solution that omits and ignores critical data needed to address the issue. Since the truck parking proposal cannot not deliver on the very reason that was permitted by Council to be considered “in advance” of the  South Campbell Local Area Plan, it needs to be paused at this juncture and the land needs to be returned to the LAP process so its future uses can be considered in the proper context.  Could this be merely a ploy on the part of the applicant to get the land zoned Light Industrial so it can be flipped?

Friends of Hazelmere | Campbell Valley invited David Klassen to speak on the Challenges of Regional Truckers at a Community Information Meeting concerning the 77 acre truck parking / warehouse facility. David Klassen is a former executive of Unifor 114, and the Chair of its Transportation Committee.

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