Logging trucks are allowed on city streets and until there is a dedicated truck route they’re here to stay, says Port Alberni city engineer Guy Cicon.
Cicon was responding to questions about a logging truck that lost control turning onto Ship Creek Road from Third Avenue on May 13.
The truck flipped onto its side and spilled its load of 19 logs down an embankment near a residential area.
Witnesses said that the truck appeared to have taken the corner too sharply when it went over.
Speed may have been a factor, but the matter remains under investigation, RCMP Staff Sgt. Kevin Murray said.
The matter of logging trucks on city roads has long been an issue, Cicon said.
The issue has been noted in the correspondence received by city council twice this year.
The complaints most often have to do with speed and noise. “Is it an issue – that’s an understatement,” Cicon said. “It comes up annually.”
Logging trucks take a greater toll on city roads than other vehicles. “You can feel it with the ruts on the road when you’re driving,” Cicon said.
The complaints are forwarded to council as well as the city’s traffic advisory committee.
But dealing with the matter is complicated.
“Some people don’t want logging trucks in their back yard – but the back yard happens to be a logging community,” Cicon said.
“Logging trucks are permitted to drive on the streets so it’s a complex issue to address.”
The city could in theory ban logging trucks in city limits. “Is this an option? No – we’re a logging community,” Cicon said.
The city has pressed for a dedicated truck route along the waterfront area but that issue is also complicated.
The existing road is owned by Western Forest Products. “We can’t force people to use the road because it’s private property,” Cicon said.
WFP implicitly allows logging trucks to use the road but formally dedicating it for that purpose may not be in the company’s interest.
“Liability and property operating maintenance are key issues,” Cicon said.
Mayor Ken McRae is scheduled to speak to WFP officials about the issue of a dedicated truck route.
“If it’s a money issue then maybe that can be discussed,” Cicon said.
The operation of logging trucks falls under the purview of the Ministry of Transportation.
But the May 13 accident happened within city limits and not on a provincial road.
“Unless it involves a mechanical issue then the police will lead the investigation,” a ministry spokesperson said.
A police investigation into the accident is still underway but police are still furrowing their brows while calculating what happened.
“I don’t know if we’ll ever know the exact cause,” RCMP Staff Sgt. Kevin Murray said.
“But speed may be a major factor barring any other revelation.”
The RCMP does receive complaints about logging trucks “But no more so than complaints about any other vehicle,” Murray said.