‘We’re just being driven out’: Truckers protest in Surrey over lack of parking

You may see a number of big rigs near the Pattullo Bridge in Surrey Wednesday, as members of the Canadian Trucking Association of BC rally to raise awareness about what they describe as a lack of truck parking in the Lower Mainland.

The group says additional parking for large trucks is urgently needed, to the tune of about 2,000 more spaces in Surrey and Langley. In the Lower Mainland overall, the CTA-BC says at least 5,000 more parking spaces are needed.

CTA-BC President Amit Kumar says members have been dealing with the parking shortage for the last two decades, with “nothing concrete ever done to resolve this problem.”

“In the last few years, it has become more acute because the demand on the available space that we have in the Lower Mainland has increased tremendously, whether it is for residential purposes or for warehouse and industry space,” Kumar told CityNews.

Not only are spaces being rezoned, Kumar says this is also leading to increased property prices, forcing trucking companies out of places like Surrey and Delta.

“Every piece that is available is in the $4 million to $5 million range per acre, which for parking a truck and trailer is prohibitively costly. We’re just being driven out,” he added.

Kumar says a lack of parking spaces for trucks poses a safety risk for everyone, as drivers are forced to park along shoulders and highways.

“The trucks are not safe there because those places are not secure, there’s no security, there’s no provisions for drivers to go to the washroom, no facilities as well. It is a safety and health [concern] for drivers because they cannot get the mandated rest,” he explained.

“Also, most of our association drivers, they’re long-haul truckers, so now they’re coming home after five, six days and they do not have a safe space where they can leave their truck and trailer, go home, take their two or three days off as needed. It’s a struggle all over.”

The CTA-BC says it has proposed solutions to some municipalities, though it claims they “have yet to tackle this large-scale problem that has dragged on for years.”

The group is pleading with governments and planners to come together to find a way to increase spaces in the Lower Mainland.

The rally began at 1 p.m. at the Aria Banquet Hall in Surrey, near Scott Road and King George Boulevard. Kumar says no convoy is planned Wednesday.

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-With files from Michael Williams

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