ICBC’s proposed truck driving test station has some Walnut Grove residents concerned their quiet lifestyles will be disrupted.
The first-of-its-kind centralized driver testing facility, proposed at 20219 96 Ave., will focus on new drivers wishing to operate commercial trucks, and motorcycle driver testing.
At a public hearing on April 9, three Walnut Grove residents told council they were not in favour of the project.
Sherry Stewart, the first speaker, said she is concerned about the potential noise from the facility and how that could affect her property value.
She lives across the street from the proposal, and said the worst traffic noise comes from motorcycles and trucks.
“The last thing I want is that across from my bedroom,” she said.
“I really protest this.”
Dana Yermichuk also lives across from the proposal on 96 Avenue. She does shift work, and is concerned the noise of trucks and motorcycles, even if only during regular business hours, will disrupt her schedule. She, too, is worried that her property value could be lowered, and that the facility will generate more air pollution.
“I’m highly opposed to this,” she said.
Doug Pearce has been a resident of Walnut Grove for over 30 years and said he has “seen it all.”
He called 96 Avenue “Highway 96” as it is already too busy.
“How many trucks are going to be down there every day? The traffic along 96 right now is horrendous. Where are those trucks going to go?” he asked.
Pearce said he went to ICBC’s open house on the facility and likes the plans, but not the location. He suggested moving the facility another kilometre or two into the Port Kells industrial area instead.
“I’m totally against this,” he said.
Speaking on behalf of the proponent, David Dove of Perkins + Will Architects said that over the course of an eight-hour day, on average there will be 30 trucks tested at the facility per day, and up to 32 motorcycles.
At peak hours, they will be adding five vehicles into the centre, and 10 vehicles out. Currently, there are upwards of 1,430 vehicles travelling that road in peak hours.
“We would be adding 15 vehicles to that 1,430,” he said.
Dove agreed that noise is generated by big trucks and motorcycles moving at high speeds. The testing facility, however, will have vehicles traveling at very low speeds, therefore not generating as much noise, he said.
The proposal also includes building berms to help mitigate sound.
“We believe we have more than addressed those concerns,” Dove told council.
Mayor Jack Froese asked for clarification on whether it’s the trucks or the truck drivers being tested at the facility.
Dove said they will be testing the drivers only, and each driver will be accompanied by instructors.
Coun. Kim Richter asked if any alternate locations had been considered.
Dove said that ICBC has been working on the project for the last two years and has been “very patient.” They have been searching for a location for the facility that is both close to the highway, and in an area that already has heavy vehicle traffic.
“This, in many ways, is a perfect location,” he said.
Coun. Petrina Arnason asked if there had been any assessment of the cumulative impact of the centre.
“This is not a race track,” Dove replied. He explained that the motorcycle drivers being tested will first do maneuvers around cones to ensure they are ready for the road. The truck drivers will be required to back up, disconnect the trailer, do a walk around, hook back up and leave for testing on the road.
“The acoustics should be no more than if it were a loading facility, and would be much less than a distribution centre,” Dove said.