By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: Nov. 22, 2013
Squamish forestry advocates and trucking operators say vehicle inspectors have been unfairly targeting logging trucks following an accident in Whistler that killed a West Vancouver man.
On Oct. 19, Hugh Craig Roberts, a 65-year-old West Vancouver man died when he was crushed by the logging truck load that spilled on to the road.
“Some of these trucks sat there for 6 to 8 hours just waiting for their turn to be inspected.” Alan Barr.
Alan Barr, who a log sort operator, said the provincial inspectors have been so overzealous in their inspections they have cost his and other businesses thousands of dollar.
Barr said instead of randomly stopping trucks, officials line them up, forcing the trucks to be stuck on the side of the highway for hours.
“Some of these trucks sat there for 6 to 8 hours just waiting for their turn to be inspected,” Barr said.
Recently, employees at his Site B operations had to sit around doing nothing as they waited for trucks that were held up by commercial vehicle inspectors.
“I still have to pay everyone and they can’t go home until the work is done,” Barr said.
An equally frustrated John Lowe of Squamish Mills said trucks are being stopped for hours for minor maintenance issues.
In one instance, Lowe said the truck driver was ordered to replace a minor part before the truck could move from the road.
“To say that people should report on logging trucks, that is enticing confrontation, not cooperation.” John Lowe
Lowe said the driver had to take the entire load off before he could replace that one part to satisfy the inspector, a process that took few hours.
In another incident, Lowe claimed the driver was given a ticket for a muddy number plate when no other infraction could be found.
Lowe was also critical of Whistler Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden who was creating a fear of logging trucks in the mind of people, he said.
In an interview with the CBC, Whistler Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden said officials have discussed a ban on logging trucks during peak hours in the past. She said more inspections are needed.
“We are going to check with them and see if we can do more of that in light of what happened,” she told CBC.
Lowe said the Whistler mayor ‘needs to get off her high horse.’
“To say that people should report on logging trucks, that is enticing confrontation, not cooperation,” he said.
A Ministry of Transportation spokesperson, Adam Roberts, said the Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement (CVSE) staff targeted 108 trucks in the last one year across the province.
Of these, he said, 44 were required to make repairs, better secure their loads or take other actions.
He said CVSE can’t provide specific corridor wide information.
Roberts said CVSE officers use their expertise to determine which vehicles require a closer look, which is generally accomplished through a quick visual inspection.
Investigators have yet to determine the exact cause of the fatal Whistler accident, but Barr said his understanding is that speed wasn’t a factor.
From what he was told by drivers, the bolts that hold the scale pad down to the trailer might have failed.
There were six fatalities in the logging truck industry in the first 30 weeks of 2013, according to Rumblings, a BC Forest Safety Council publication.
The logging industry is committed to safety and welcomes scrutiny, but not derision and harassment, said John Lowe.
“We have worked a lot towards logging truck safety and will continue to do so.”