A plan is in the works for a semi-truck co-operative in Surrey to address a critical shortage of parking spots for big rigs in the city.
According to a report that went to council in 2006, there are 12,000 trucks in Surrey that weigh 5,000 kilograms or more.
Roughly half of them are owner-operated, which means it is up to the owner to find a parking space. Drivers say the shortage has forced them to park in residential neighbourhoods and on agricultural land.
“We have been able to create about 3,500 spaces in the interim,” said Councillor Tom Gill.
“The problem now is with new development and greater growth, those properties that were being used as interim truck parks are being developed. Again, we’re having a supply issue."
Gill says industrial land is expensive, so many semi-truck owners can’t afford parking. He believes a co-op truck park will give drivers an affordable option.
“Coming up with a strata cooperative is something that is so outside the box, something that hasn’t been done, it presents a real creative opportunity.”
Gill has a site in mind for the project where a semi-truck owner would be able to buy a single parking space. He hopes the site will be approved by the end of the year.
Neighbourhoods calling for solutions
Surrey residents have been complaining about semi-truck parking for years.
“People buy properties in our neighbourhood, which are typically larger lots, and then use those properties to park big, semi work trucks on their properties,” said Bob Campbell, the former president of the West Panorama Ratepayers Association.
“Because part of our community includes agricultural land, people are using agricultural land to run businesses.”
Campbell wants to see the city enforce its bylaws more strictly.
Not just a Surrey issue
Semi-truck parking became such a big issue in Abbotsford four years ago that the mayor at the time launched a task force to come up with solutions.
Daryl Wear with Wear Contracting Ltd. says the task force came up with a number of ideas, but no action was taken.
“I looked at buying two acres of commercial property and it would have cost me $1.2 million and then I would have had to spend $700,000 on upgrades before the city would let me do anything on it," he said.
"$2 million to park a couple of trucks? You can’t justify it, there isn’t enough money in the industry.”
B.C. Transportation Minister Todd Stone acknowledged a lack of semi-truck parking is a regional concern that could be addressed in the 10-year, $2.5 billion transportation plan he unveiled in Vancouver on Tuesday.
The plan calls for the construction of two truck parks in the Lower Mainland, Stone noted.
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