Mayor’s Column – April 12, 2017

April 12, 2017

 

For those with long memories it won’t be difficult to recall the concern many of you expressed (especially on the local Facebook outlet for your emotions) about the indiscriminate and improper parking of coal trucks on the beautiful streets of Chetwynd. And it was a real concern. Many of you had ideas for eliciting change. Some of you just thought that Mayor, Council, and Administration were asleep at the wheel. Others were prepared to accept the inconvenience with its dust and oil drippings for the sake of jobs, incomes, and a sense of security. So we had a regular mix of opinions here in our home town. Still, showing up in all the talk was the underlying need: truck drivers do need to have a place to stop and stand up. And they should feel welcome in our town – even those who actually live here.

(I pause from my writing to watch a loaded coal truck making for the dump at Willow Creek and a loaded rock truck rumbling east toward its destination somewhere over the horizon. They meet and pass directly in front of the motel across the way. No stopping for snacks here today.)

I must go on record as being in favor of the industrial trucks passing by with their drivers, at least temporarily, making Chetwynd their base of operations. I know that for every driver there is someone somewhere depending on her or him to bring home the revenue to support all the varied expenses that come with keeping a roof over the head, food on the table, braces in the mouths of growing kids, clothing, transportation, vacations, and all the other stuff that contributes to keeping us comfortable, well fed, watered, warm, and feeling appreciated.

And be assured, I’m with the majority on this issue. I don’t like indiscriminate, improper parking.

Nor has anyone in the District Centre been asleep at the wheel on this issue.

But solutions to problems, even good problems, are complex; they take time to devise and more time to execute.

That said, I think we have arrived at a solution that will serve the needs of the citizens of Chetwynd and not be too onerous for the weary truckers at either end of the shift.

It hasn’t been that difficult for Mayor and Council. All we need to do is authorize a fix (something that Administration was already addressing) and set the budget for said fix should a budget be required. Administration has to do all the heavy lifting, and the light lifting, too.

The trucks are not the only moving parts in this puzzle. There are many others. Participating in the heavy lifting were the RCMP, CVSE, Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, Ministry of Environment, District Staff, and Administration. (Two more coal trucks just met outside my office window.)

The RCMP, CVSE, and Conservation officer have been using information road checks to communicate directly with drivers about speed, weight, load security, and other elements of a highly mobile industry. For the security, peace, and contented enjoyment of the District, Administration has been able to provide a parking area near the airport and is insisting that the trucks park there – for a fee, of course. But we won’t apologize for that. Every service has a cost and no one should expect a free ride.

My thanks to Administration and Staff for keeping their collective shoulders to the wheel until the solution has been put into effect.

And thanks to the drivers for complying with our need to keep Chetwynd clean and beautiful. Be assured that we do recognize the contribution you are making to the general welfare of our community. Please be free to enjoy all the other amenities at your disposal while you make Chetwynd your home.

 

Merlin Nichols, Mayor