A business owner in the County of Wetaskiwin spoke to council about his concerns about road bans during the regular Public Works meeting July 17.
Dale Franklin, who owns and operates a trucking and gravel hauling service, spoke to councilors at the Public Works meeting regarding road bans.
Franklin sent councilors a letter outlining his concerns and also spoke directly about it.
“Do road bans work?,” asked Franklin in his letter. “When farmers can haul 90 per cent loads and the County of Wetaskiwin trucks can haul 100 per cent loads why can’t general contractors haul the same?
“We do not do anymore damage to the roads than a farmer does hauling his or her grain. Most times the general contractors are hauling equipment or gravel to pre-said farmers.
“In my experience when I have questioned the County hauls on road banned roads I have been told that it is deemed an emergency. I do not believe hauling gravel so the County can put down calcium qualifies this as an emergency.
“It seems that there could be a more fair system put in place that everyone must abide. One rule should be the same for everyone.”
Reeve Kathy Rooyakkers noted councilors received and read Franklin’s letter.
Franklin said he doesn’t understand why road ban rules are different for contractors than they are for farmers. “If farmers can do it on their own, I can do the same thing,” said Franklin.
Rooyakkers noted farmers have to get a permit too, although it is free of charge. The permits, she noted, help the municipality track down haulers who damage public roads.
Director of Public Works Neil Powell noted that some commercial traffic, such as milk, is considered a critical service and is treated differently than, for example, a load of construction materials.
Franklin said he didn’t understand that reasoning because weight is weight regardless of what is hauling it and said that multiple trips is what damages a road.
Powell also noted that road bans aren’t generally popular with anyone. “The issue of Road Bans are contentious,” stated Powell in his report to council.
“As road bans are imposed to protect the road infrastructure during spring melt, it does have a negative economical impact on local industries reliant upon trucks and truck hauls. This is not limited to the construction industry, as even a 90 per cent ban on agricultural commodities are met with dissatisfaction from local producers. Other industries affected include oil and gas, utilities and manufacturing.”
Rooyakkers said the issue may require a closer look by the county, and she thanked Franklin for coming to council. “That’s what we’re here for, is to listen,” she added.