If a solution to Youbou’s dust problem is coming, it won’t be from a private truck wash partially paid for from public money.
At the urging of Youbou Director Pat Weaver, the CVRD decided last week to rescind a plan to spend $5,000 from a public Youbou environmental fund to help TimberWest build a truck wash.
At a board meeting on Sept 11, she urged fellow directors to write to the B.C. Transportation and Infrastructure Ministry asking it to deal with the problem of dirt and dust from logging trucks driving through the community.
The issue revolves around the logs and trucks as they leave the private TimberWest logging road and transition onto public Youbou Road .
They leave a layer of dirt thin as white flour, which becomes even finer as vehicles pound it into the pavement. Residents say it’s hard to sweep up or wipe off and gets into everything. Every time the trucks roll over the dirt it flies into the air and blows everywhere.
The problem of dust in the spring and summer, and mud in the rainy months is not a new one, said Youbou resident Brooke Hodson.
He tried to deal with it 10 years ago when he was the Youbou director. He agrees going after the province is the correct route.
“Anything coming from off (vehicles) on to a provincial highway is the sole responsibility of the Ministry of Highways,” he said. “They can put any conditions on (those vehicles) but they choose not to.”
“The CVRD has no responsibility in dealing with provincial highways and receives no funding from taxes collected by the Ministry of Highways. Ten years ago (Highways) didn’t want to put too much pressure on the corporations like TimberWest and others because they pay their fair share of taxes.
“(Youbou Rd) was not a priority with the provincial government”
That’s a view shared by another former Youbou director, Klaus Kuhn, who praised the community for speaking up and getting the $5,000 contribution reversed.
“Senior governments have downloaded much of their responsibilities to our local government. Now we were supposed to contribute to the cost of a truck wash. But we refused with good reason.
“They (the Ministry) are the ones that issue the permit for TimberWest to use the public road. It is up to them together with TimberWest to find a solution to the dust problem.”
Kuhn said the $5,000 is less then five percent of the cost of building the truck wash. He thinks TimberWest should build it anyway and generate needed good will in the community.
Weaver was unavailable for comment.
Prior to 2000, when the mill was running, trucks would deliver logs to the dryland sort in Honeymoon Bay, which were then floated to the Youbou Mill to be cut. The company also asked its drivers to cover the loads of chips to keep the roads free from derbies.
Now privately owned trucks take TimberWest’s logs directly from the woods straight through Youbou. This change shifted responsibility to the private drivers to clean their trucks, but only if the ministry makes it necessary.
Hodson suggested the passion the community showed in overturning the $5,000 contribution now be directed at the province.
“ If all those people that wrote to the CVRD and said ‘I don’t want to pay TimberWest’ turned around and wrote those same letters to the Ministry, maybe it would help.”