Lake Cowichan councillors decided at their March 26 council meeting that they don’t want to see semi-trailers carrying gasoline driving along Neva Road.
After looking at a report on the possibilities for gas delivery to a new Gas ‘n’ Go station proposed for the corner of Cowichan Lake Road and Neva, Coun. Tim McGonigle said that the best solution might be to ask that deliveries be made by a truck without a trailer.
A B-train semi couldn’t come down the main Cowichan Lake Road because such a truck couldn’t make the turn at Neva Road: the angle is too much for such a vehicle. And leaving town would involve going down to the roundabout by the Riverside Inn and making the turn there.
“It may require more than one delivery weekly but the access and egress would not be necessary on Neva Road for a single vehicle. There are other gassing facilities now that utilize a single vehicle on busy roads, Tipton’s for instance. It is council’s decision to authorize it but we also have to take into consideration safety,” McGonigle said.
In addition, it would be a good plan to talk to the people who live along Neva Road near the proposed station.
“I think before I can commit to that I want to engage the angst of those along that route. If they have trouble with a delivery in a B-train I would hope we can work with the proponent and work on the idea of simple tankers and utilize the main road.
Mayor Rod Peters said he had learned that the gasoline was going to be “delivered at 9 p.m. at night Wednesdays when traffic will be at its lowest. With a single fuel truck, without a trailer, it could be several deliveries a week and you don’t know when they’re going to be so I think those dangers would be a little bit more. That’s just my thinking. But concern about a spill? It doesn’t matter because all along that whole stretch of road there are storm drains and gas will go into them. If you want to stop that happening, you’ll have to stop all gas stations in the whole town from fueling up. Somewhere along the way, whether it’s at the Co-op, or at the gas bar at Tipton’s, or any gas bar, it’s going to find its way to the river. The only way to do that is to stop selling gas in this town.
“I have talked several times to [a] tractor trailer operator and he’s been coming down that road for the last five years and he’s never had a problem with the turning radius on those two corners and his wheel span is eight feet longer than the tanker trailer.
“My opinion is to use Neva Road. My estimate is that there are at least four or five tractor trailer units of some sort come down that road every day: loaded logging trucks, and freight trucks. I know it’s a residential area but [trucks going to] any of the businesses in town: the liquor store, Country Grocer, they are all large tractor trailer units that go in there and they are on residential roads. I like the safety of knowing exactly what day and when it’s coming.”
Coun. Kristine Sandhu said, “We can’t know what traffic will be at any given time. My concern is if they went down Neva Road with a pup [trailer] there might be a chance of hitting something.”
Peters said he was concerned about additional hold-ups to the proposed business because the gas station application had been in the works for a long time, and he wanted a new business in town rather than to see a developer leave and try his luck elsewhere.
But his colleagues were still adamant that they didn’t fancy the plan of bringing a semi-trailer down Neva Road from the Youbou highway. However, Peters eventually decided to join the others, even if the decision meant more gasoline truck trips.
Council then asked CAO Joe Fernandez to prepare an additional report and bring it back to the next meeting.