THUNDER BAY – The next step in the designated truck route saga is going to take a little longer.
Thunder Bay city council had been scheduled to receive the updated bylaw for approval at their next scheduled meeting on April 29, but on Monday night decided to push it back to a future date where all members of council will be in attendance.
By narrow 7-6 margins, council earlier this year had approved and ratified the decision to implement a route that would force heavy truck traffic off Dawson Road and Arthur Street, instead directing them to use provincial highways to pass through the city. A new bylaw has to be passed by council to complete the process.
Coun. Mark Bentz, who originally supported the route but voted against its ratification, requested holding off until all councillors will be present, given the process has been in various stages of development for five to 15 years.
“I see no reason to rush. If it takes another few weeks to deal with the bylaw, I’m thinking that’s probably a good investment of time,” Bentz said. “It was a split decision and there are going to be some people that want different things in the bylaw based on what they see as potential issues with it.”
The truck route would impose weight restrictions on the sections of Dawson Road and Arthur Street within city limits, keeping cross-country transport trucks off those roadways and essentially forcing them to stick to Highway 11/17 to enter and exit Thunder Bay.
Coun. Trevor Giertuga, the former McIntyre ward councillor that represents the Dawson Road area, had championed a designated truck route for much of his nearly two decades in municipal office. Giertuga expressed concern that the matter could be indefinitely delayed if councillors can’t attend meetings.
“There’s no guarantee we’re going to find a meeting where we’ll all be here in attendance,” Giertuga said. “We’re going to have so many important issues over the next three-and-a-half years that if we do this on every issue, good luck moving forward and getting progress done.”
The city clerk’s office has been tasked with polling councillors to try to determine a suitable date.