By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: June 5, 2014
Is it $10 million or $20 or will the cost bloat to $40 million?
The district is keeping quiet on what it may cost to create a commercial truck route for industry such as the Squamish terminals.
The issue has been put on the backburner for the umpteenth time, but time may be running out for the district.
As the district works behind closed doors on the Oceanfront deal, it will finally have to act on a route to downtown that accommodates more vehicular traffic.
Meantime, the trucks keep coming, their drivers worriedly checking blind spots as they make treacherous turns on Vancouver Street and Third Ave.
The number is on the rise, from a handful of trucks to 30 trucks every day, says Squamish Terminals manager, Ron Anderson. .
Anderson said the number could increase or decrease depending on the type of cargo, the customer’s preference for truck or rail and even its final destination.
Anderson said the Terminals has always advocated for a safe reliable truck route for its operations, with the 7th Ave connector as a reasonable solution.
“It would be great for the community as it will take the trucks away from downtown,” he told a recent district transportation committee.
At the same transportation committee, the district put forward a frightfully high number, close to $36 million.
There was some discussion, but no clarity, on whether that high number would include diking costs as well.
On financing the possible Seventh Ave. connector, Coun. Doug Race said there is no road reserve from which the district can simply pull the money.
“It will either be a grant or borrowed money,” Race said, noting that it will be hard to finance a connector from the operating budget.
He also said not all Oceanfront access would be through downtown. The part of the plan is to not funnel all traffic through downtown, but to build across the Cattermole Slough and connect it to Third Ave.
The provision of a Seventh Ave. connector is included in the 2031 Transportation Plan, although local environmentalists like Marcy Mitchell and John Buchanan oppose the connector.
“What the local politicians don’t get is that no-one should even be looking at the Estuary as a road option no matter if it was cheap or expensive to do,” he said.
“I believe this proposal has nothing to do with trucking and everything to do with requirements to get the Oceanfront lands developed,” Mitchell wrote to the council in February this year.
The district, meanwhile, said it recognizes that the current route presents thorny issues, but no additional details, including cost estimates, are available.