Letter: Truck volumes will only increase in the future

A local man who has been in trucking for decades is opposed to the 216th Street interchange.

Dear Editor,

Because of a letter I recently sent to the Township council and a local newspaper I was invited to a meeting of concerned citizens to discuss the soon-to-be-built 216 overpass over the Trans Canada Highway. That letter plus 50 years of trucking around our area made them look to me for perspective.

Nice people, they understand the advantages, they have legitimate concerns, speeding, noise and congestion. Paramount in their minds is that it appears it is going to be a designated truck route.

On my way home I thought about changes to trucking since the mid-50s when I was a young rookie driver working out of a terminal on Pender Street doing a Penticton rounder three times a week. We’d meet perhaps a dozen or so rigs each evening, Millar and Brown out of Cranbrook had semis. Grocery haulers to the Cariboo were using body-jobs, couldn’t get “big trucks” through the Canyon. There was a truck stop at Hunter Creek, west of Hope, everyone stopped for coffee and gossip. There was no road across Canada in those days, east-bound loads travelled “in-bond” through the U.S. These days it’s a constant stream of rigs all day and all night long.

I Googled anticipated North American truck growth, it appears to be about three per cent compounded for the foreseeable future. Trucking will increase exponentially. Routing big trucks through residential areas and past schools is a trucking companies bad dream, their worst nightmare is a small child darting in front of a big truck that has no time to stop. “Sorry” won’t be acceptable. I look back 50 years, I’d like our elected municipal and provincial governments to look ahead 50 years. Now is the time to plan how to get the anticipated volume of big trucks on the smoothest flowing traffic lanes possible.

Anyone that thinks truck traffic volume will remain static should read this: The Jim Pattison Group recently purchased the Peterbilt truck dealerships for British Columbia. Jimmy buys for two reasons, either there is profit or there will be profit.

Using 216th Street as a truck route is a bad idea, better we put our efforts into improving 200th Street.

Ted Campbell, Langley