SUMMERSIDE – The provincial government has turned down a request for the city of Summerside to include city streets under the vehicle weights and dimensions regulations.
The issue arose last summer when tractor-trailer trucks were hauling gravel from the Maritime Terminal Wharf at the Summerside port to the asphalt plant in St. Eleanors. There was a question raised surrounding the size of the loads each truck was transporting to the plant.
In September, city council directed the police department to look into the issue.
Police Chief David Poirier told members of the police committee Tuesday night that the province declined to include streets under its regulations.
Poirier had sent a letter to Transportation Minister Robert Vessey in January outlining council’s concern about overweight vehicles using city streets and the city’s request to have the street included under the provincial vehicle weights and dimensions regulations.
Poirier said he received a letter in response from the minister saying that request would not be granted at this time.
“As you are aware the department enforces weight restrictions on a provincial network of roads,” the minister wrote. “Taking into account the resources that would be required to amend this policy the department would not change the regulation.
Poirier said following the receipt of this minister’s letter, the city met with the deputy minister in February.
“Their reasoning behind the letter is that they think for roads that are designated under the roads act, they (province) become responsible for all of our streets,” Poirier said. “I told them that that was not the intent. I am requesting some more time on this. We want to meet again with them to get across to them that that was certainly not the intent. It would only be for weight restrictions.”
Poirier said there are other options the city can follow.
He said the city could enact a bylaw to try and include all streets in that bylaw.
“Another option would be that they would lend the portable scales to us,” the police chief said. “That would mean again, designating all of our streets and there’s a process for that.
Another option is on the day that they are unloading barges, we can contact the department and they can come up and set up on the highway and we could re-route some of the truck traffic to the highway and they could do the enforcement there.”
Poirier said the transportation department representatives claim the number of overweight vehicles on the roads is small.
“In their experience, they feel only 3 to 5 per cent of the trucks are overweight,” he said. “So, once you do a few, they’ll probably get the message.”
Council agreed to continue discussions with the province with the understanding that something should be in place before the next construction season begins.