Vandal playing politics with Provencher truck route issue
Feb 6, 2014

Much has been said about a recently released civic report titled Proposed Truck Route Re-Designation of Provencher Boulevard. The report was requested by Coun. Dan Vandal in September 2013 and was authored by a city staffer holding the designation of P.T.O.E., (professional traffic operations engineer).

It was commissioned to determine what the effects of delisting Provencher Boulevard as a truck route would be to city industry and residents. It clearly states that truck traffic should not be reduced on Provencher.

Regarding this proposal, in November 2013 Vandal was quoted by Winnipeg media as saying city staff were looking at alternatives and consulting. He was also quoted as saying the report he requested was “on the right track.”

When the report was released this week, Vandal is quoted as saying it was “a heavily one-sided, misleading, worst-case scenario that concluded chaos would ensue if trucks were banned from Provencher.”

The reality is that nothing has changed between November 2013 and February 2014. Unfortunately for greater Winnipeg, this is a problem for two parties: the handful of citizens who believe their wants are more important than the needs of the rest of the city’s residents and a city councillor who is apparently desperate to gain their favour.

I’d like to suggest what I believe most Winnipeggers would find a reasonable solution: Address said constituents, advise them the study you’ve requested on their behalf shows what they want is clearly damaging to the needs of their neighbours and move on to the host of other items city council should be focusing its attention on.

Vandal’s solution was different. He requested another report. That’s correct — if Mom says you can’t have any ice cream, better go and ask Dad.

What happens when a second report comes back with the same conclusions? Request a third? Why should taxpayers pay for multiple reports? Why is personal political gain being prioritized over effective city planning and decision-making? Why are the wants of a few citizens being given priority over the needs of everyone else?

There have also been false allegations made by certain residents’ associations that they haven’t been given a say on this item. The report itself states “the decision to displace the majority of truck traffic on Provencher Boulevard to Marion Street and Goulet Street has received consideration and feedback from residents and businesses on Provencher Boulevard.” The report also contains a written submission from the complaining group.

What the report also states is that no citizens living in the area of the expected traffic increase, Marion and Goulet, have been consulted.

Residents and businesses on Provencher have contributed to the report and they know their neighbours haven’t. This means certain Provencher residents are trying to force their unwanted traffic onto their neighbours’ street, knowing said neighbours haven’t been given the same opportunity to contribute to the report.

And yet Provencher residents have complaints about lack of consultation?

The most important conclusion can be summed up thus: The report very clearly outlines that limiting truck access to Provencher would have negative traffic safety considerations, especially for residents on Marion and Goulet.

How anyone, residents’ association or city councillor, can continue pushing for this change knowing this will be the outcome is outrageous.

But don’t take my word for it. Access the report and make your own decision.

Terry Shaw (General manager of the Manitoba Trucking Association)

This article was originally published in the Winnipeg Free Press – Feb 6, 2014