OUR VIEW: Road use debate unfair

With every action, comes an equal and opposite reaction.

With every action, comes an equal and opposite reaction. It’s a familiar phrase, commonly associated with physics, but it’s showing its versatility in Central Saanich.

This month, the District’s 60-day moratorium on heavy truck traffic on Hovey and Tomlinson roads had an unintended consequence. A truck delivering hay to a local farm was stopped by police and ticketed under the council’s directive. The delivery happens only a few times each year but since the ban was put in place, all trucks that fit a pre-determined description are targeted.

And that has the owner of the farm decrying council’s action as unfair.

If that is the case, then based on traditional use of the route by trucks of significant size, the moratorium appears to also be unfair to the company that the District is aiming at.

V.I. Pallet Recovery leased land nearby and uses the road to conduct business. That meant a significant increase in truck traffic along the road — sparking outcry from residents. In response, the council imposed the temporary ban to give them time to explore their options. Yet it seems neither V.I. Pallet nor nearby farms can conduct business if it involves semi-trailer trucks in any way.

It’s not fair to anyone.

It’s also not fair to the residents to give them a 60-day reprieve that could simply end with no resolution to the issue.

The use of Hovey and Tomlinson roads by farm trucks seems to indicate a traditional use of the route by commercial truck traffic. Albeit, it is irregular use.

It’s unlikely that council is going to come back in a few weeks and give some commercial operations the ability to use the road and prevent others. That could open the municipality up to all sorts of challenges.

On the surface, this issue seems to be a poor reaction by residents to just a few more trucks using their roads, followed by another poor reaction by council in trying to find a solution.

Instead of creating a series of complicated bylaws, riddled with caveats and exceptions, council would be better served by sticking with their established rules. And have those rules apply to everyone.

Even if that means ticketing the large moving vans should some residents decide to pack up and relocate.

(From the April 22, 2016 edition of the PNR)