WINNIPEG, Man. -- The Manitoba Trucking Association (MTA) was left unimpressed after a city councillor proposed moving trucks off main thoroughfares without suggesting any reasonable solutions for their relocation.
Winnipeg city councillor Dan Vandal wants to see trucks vanish from a number of roads, claiming they are unsightly.
“We have to progress as a city, does anyone other than the trucking association like semi-trailers at Portage and Main?” Vandal said. “It’s a no-brainer, we have semi-trailers that go down Provencher over the bridge, and then meander onto Portage Avenue. It’s time to get rid of the tractor-trailers from Portage and Main and Provencher Boulevard.”
Manitoba Trucking Association general manager Terry Shaw was surprised to hear yet another call for a truck ban on Provencher and other roads.
“To hear that Councillor Vandal is making comments on an increased ban is even more surprising and frankly, very disappointing,” Shaw said.
“The Manitoba Trucking Association is a solutions-based organization. Our preference is to work in harmony with our elected leaders and other stakeholders towards a mutually agreeable result.”
“We have heard loudly, clearly and regularly that Councillor Vandal doesn’t want trucks on certain vital traffic corridors in Winnipeg, such as Provencher, and now possibly Portage Avenue. Unfortunately, what is noticeably lacking from those statements are any suggestions on reasonable alternative routes,” Shaw added.
MTA president Norm Blagden explains that routes are based on a number of detailed factors.
“Truck traffic naturally gravitates towards the most efficient routes. The questions trucking companies, and the customers they serve, concern themselves with are: Is the route direct? Is it cost effective? Is it safe?” Blagden said.
“If trucking companies were provided with alternative routes to Provencher and Portage that better address those basic business needs, then the industry wouldn’t be as reliant on them. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case currently,” said Blagden.
Shaw noted that it isn’t just the trucking industry that would be affected by Vandal’s proposal, but the impact would stretch beyond a number of key industries.
“The trucking industry employs about 20,000 Manitobans, and it is a critical service provider to other key Winnipeg industries such as construction, manufacturing and the retail trade. We question how a key to Winnipeg seeing ‘progress as a city’ includes the arbitrary discrimination of such a large segment of Winnipeg’s population and industry,” Shaw said.
If the ban is made official, the MTA projects a financial burden to the city’s industries at an approximate cost of $600,000 annually.