Semi truck drivers in Surrey, who have been complaining about a shortage of parking for a decade, may soon have a place to leave their big rigs.
A company called GG Metro Holdings is applying to develop 75 acres near 16 Avenue and 192 Street into what it describes as a trucker's oasis.
"We certainly have a lot of trucks that travel in and throughout the Fraser Valley and Metro Vancouver and there aren't as many truck parking opportunities as we would like," said BC Trucking Association President Louise Yako.
If approved, the site will include washing facilities, office space and tire repair centres.
Council estimates 1,300 semis routinely park illegally in the city.
The site was formerly used as a gravel pit, and proponents point out that no trees will have to be removed.
The land is currently zoned agricultural, but it is not in the ALR.
Environmental groups say the site is too close to the Little Campbell River, which is a major spawning ground for several types of salmon and trout.
"It's not just parking trucks," said Brooksdale Environmental Centre director David Anderson.
"What is being proposed is a major facility for truck transport and maintenance in the area. This isn't just taking a gravel mined property and locating trucks on it. This is taking an agricultural area and turning it into an industrial zone."
"The concern of having a facility like this is that it's on a property that drains into the river," said Christy Juteau with A Rocha, an environmental conservation group.
Anderson and Juteau helped organize a community meeting earlier this week and they plan to meet again on October 6.
The developer says the site will have world-class environmental protections.
Truckers are frustrated
Daryl Wear, who operates Daryl Wear Contracting, says the shortage of semi parking has driven up the cost.
He says most drivers can't find or can't afford a parking space, so they leave their rigs on the street, on farmland or even in their own driveways.
"Everything you have, including your car, is brought in by truck, but nobody wants to look at a truck parked across the street," said Daryl Weir, who owns Daryl Wear Contracting Inc.