By Cole Parkinson
The Town of Vauxhall is continuing to tweak their traffic bylaw in relation to school buses and semi-trucks parking within town limits.
With talks about the issue being prevalent in the new year, the topic was once again brought up in council chambers during the town’s regular meeting on March 6.
After council decided on lots in town that were 20 metres from the road and 30 metres away from their neighbour were able to park buses, there has been some comments made by the community on the situation.
“We may be up to many challenges in terms of enforcement, public perception and backlash in regard to allowing one individual to be able to do that however everyone else in the municipality cannot,” Jason Schreiber, Vauxhall peace officer. “If council were to discuss the previous request from First Student to either leave in that section about buses or take it out. I believe that would be in the best interest of everybody in the community as far as being fair and equal to everybody.”
Also discussed was the parking on semi trucks within Vauxhall.The biggest concern that loaded semi trucks present to the town is damage to paved roads in town limits.
Allowing loaded trucks could potentially lead to heavy damage on town roads so council was vocal about not wanting to allow them in town especially down 7th Avenue.
“The way we pave some of the roads, we know that they’re not laid down for heavy trucks. I really think the community would be really upset with us,” said Mayor Margaret Plumtree.
A suggestion made was to allow unloaded semi trucks as they would not be any heavier than the buses already driving around town.
“If you were inclined to permit heavy trucks to park it would be easy enough to permit a road ban on those roads to only drive empty heavy trucks, which is certainly no heavier than most other vehicles going down the road,” said Deputy Mayor Richard Phillips.
In terms of loaded semis though, Phillips was in agreement with Plumtree on not allowing loaded trucks in town.
“I would agree completely, we don’t want loaded trucks. It really irritates me when I see loaded semis going down 7th Avenue which happens to often,” said Phillips. “As far as school buses, almost every bus that goes to the school’s goes down 7th already, so the school bus traffic is there.”
Phillips was also vocal in his support of allowing the lots who comply with the specifications of distance. While only a certain few properties in Vauxhall would fall under compliance, he sees no reason not to allow them to park buses if they are bus drivers.
“We’re making an exception for any individual who owns a lot size that is sufficient to comply with these. There are several lots within town boundaries that comply with that. There may only be one individual currently, that drives a school bus that occupies one of those lots but any of the individuals who occupy the several lots that size would therefore be entitled,” added Phillips.
He also added that those specific lots should be focused on, not the drivers.
“The problem is with blocking vision, noise and fumes irritating neighbours so if you have a lot sufficiently large, which there are at least four in town where you can park a school bus, I don’t see any reason not to say ‘you can’t park there’. If individual drivers are unhappy or envious of somebody who has a large lot, well one of those large lots has had a for sale sign for a long time,” said Phillips. “My opinion is we shouldn’t focus on current bus drivers, we should focus on which properties are so large that you can hide a school bus without annoying your neighbours or causing problems for people driving.”
Phillips put forth a motion to retain the bus parking limitations as stated in Bylaw No. 922-18 while also eliminating heavy truck parking on private lots due to the fear that loaded truck drivers will think that the bylaw applies to them as well.
First and second reading was passed with a 4-1 vote with the lone opposing vote both being from Plumtree. Third reading was put forth but it could not be considered in the same meeting unless there was a unanimous decision to move forward, Plumtree voted against third reading. The third reading was eventually passed at the March 20th meeting.