Staff who work at a decades-old truck stop along Arthur Street in Thunder Bay, Ont. say their business will be devastated if city council passes a new by-law Monday to limit truck traffic on city streets.
The by-law would bar heavy trucks from several main thoroughfares, including routes such as Arthur, Dawson Road and Oliver Road, partly due to safety concerns and partly to reduce the cost of repairing roads damaged by big rigs.
The comptroller of Santorelli's Truck Stop told CBC News, if the by-law passes, there's no way to compensate for the lost business.
"For every truck that does not come to Santorelli's to fuel up, we need approximately 10 to 15 cars to replace them," Lorne Kellar said.
"So if you're talking 50 trucks, that means we need to have another 650 vehicles a day just to make us a viable enterprise," he continued.
"Those numbers are not achievable."
When asked about the safety of allowing heavy trucks on Arthur Street, Kellar pointed to a 2014 city engineering report that documented only four accidents involving transport trucks on the street in the preceding decade.
The report looked at accidents from Highway 61 west to the city limits.
Santorelli's sits just outside the municipal border, but Kellar said he doubts many trucks will visit the 65-year-old business if they can no longer follow the route into town.
Kellar conceded that allowing heavy trucks on multiple routes does drive up maintenance costs, but he said the primary beneficiaries are local truckers making deliveries to local businesses.
$75 more per load to use Harbour Expressway
"They're spending all of their paychecks in Thunder Bay," he said.
Restricting the rigs will also cost the city in other ways, he added, notably in the extra cost of delivering materials for city infrastructure projects in the south core.
Private enterprise will have to find ways to offset the additional charges too, he said.
"They've figured it out that it's an extra 38 minutes per-load to go to Resolute using the Harbour Expressway over Arthur Street," Kellar said, estimating the increased cost per load at about $75.
"If it costs Resolute more to bring their fiber to their mill, wouldn't that put them in the position to renegotiate what their property's worth, to pay less property tax?" gas bar manager Frank Morozzo added.
"If you managed [Resolute], what would you do?"
Asked if Santorelli's has contemplated relocating to the Harbour Expressway, Kellar answered, "Who's going to pay for that?"
"Does anybody have any idea what the cost would be?"