Third reading of the City of Wetaskiwin’s amended traffic bylaw, regarding where heavy vehicles over 4,500 kilograms, with permits, can drive within city limits was approved.
The bylaw now rules heavy vehicles can be kept in residential neighbourhoods and can drive from the owner’s residence to the nearest truck route if granted a permit signed by the neighbours stating they do not mind the vehicle being kept there.
Coun. Wayne Neilson stated, during council’s Aug. 15 meeting, he was unconvinced the bylaw, as it stands, is achieving what needs to be achieved. However, he added he would not vote against the bylaw and hold the process back.
“Are we really protecting the infrastructure? Does that 4,500 kilogram weight limit really protect the infrastructure?” Neilson questioned.
He says if the goal was to protect infrastructure then no one would be granted permits, and what the bylaw should be addressing is parking issues.
“The only reason we’re looking at weight is because that’s where most other municipalities in the province are going to,” said Wetaskiwin fire chief Leigh Sawicki.
Coun. Patricia MacQuarrie feels the permitting will not allow drivers to needlessly damage infrastructure as the permit applies to a relatively small group of people, those living in a residential neighborhood driving to a truck route and back.
Coun. Joe Branco was also displeased with the amendment and voted against the second reading of the bylaw.
“I think we have a conflict of interest with the Government of Alberta,” said Branco. He pointed out some trucks carrying equipment and items such as slip tanks can weigh over the 4,500 kilograms and receive licensing from the Government of Alberta.
Branco’s concern is the city’s bylaw would void provincial licensing and still require drivers to apply for the permit.
However, Branco was informed municipalities have the right to place weight restrictions on their streets.
Neilson was also concerned the amendments would cause more work for city staff. MacQuarrie pointed out the only part of the bylaw being changed is the maximum weight, and this permitting process has been in place for several years already.