By Dianne Pinder-Moss
After addressing Perth Town Council a few years ago over his concerns about large trucks utilizing Gore Street, Derek Holbeche was at the Aug. 9 Committee of the Whole (COW) meeting to drive home the message again.
Appearing as a delegation at the meeting, Holbeche told council that in June 2015 he observed a flatbed truck loaded with large landscaping rocks “that must have weighed more than 20 tonnes, the weight limit on the large bridge,” going down the street.
“This year, when Gore Street was being repaved, only cars and light trucks were allowed on the street and reroute truck signs directed heavy trucks around the town; this worked well,” he said in asking why these signs couldn’t be kept in place and large trucks out of the downtown core.
Mayor John Fenik said he didn’t think anyone would disagree that heavy trucks don’t belong on Gore Street.
“If I had my way, there would be a bypass and there wouldn’t be any trucks going there,” he stated. Fenik went on to say that heavy trucks should be following the truck route, which proceeds down Wilson Street from Highway 7 before turning left onto North Street and continuing down Sherbrooke St. E. to Chetwynd Street to link up with County Road 43. He acknowledged though that, having spoken to drivers, “Perth is a nightmare for truckers.”
“We need to find a solution for all involved,” he said in an email.
During discussion of the issue at the COW meeting, Councillor Jim Boldt said he hoped the Traffic Master Plan (TMP), which is expected in draft form in September, would map the intentions of the town going forward with respect to all traffic, including trucks. Boldt was of the opinion that, with policing and proper signage, the concerns of Holbeche could be addressed.
Holbeche’s questions were referred to Grant Machan, director of environmental services, who was not in attendance at the COW meeting for a response.
Reached by email on Monday, Aug. 15, Machan stated that the primary (preferred) truck route in the municipality’s Official Plan is the Wilson/ North/ Sherbrooke/ Chetwynd/ Craig route for traffic destined for County Road 43.
“This area is signed to support truck movement,” he said. “The TMP has a deliverable to update and improve signage for that route to encourage its usage.”
Machan went on to say, however, that the Wilson/North/Gore route is “also valid” for truck traffic as it was designed and maintained as the connecting link known as Provincial Highway 43 until downloading in the 1990’s.
“The use of Gore Street for heavy trucks is derived by the desire to head south to Provincial Highway 15 in Lombardy and avoiding the labyrinth of the route above,” he noted. “The Gore Street passage has capacity in the road design and in bridge capacity.”
According to Machan, the TMP will highlight challenges in all vehicle movements and identify improvements “to assist all modes of transportation through the municipality.”