Petrolia will ask Lambton County to help stop the convoy of transport trucks heading through downtown Petrolia.
Petrolia Line – a county road dissecting Lambton County – runs right through the historic downtown. For years, local politicians have voiced concerns about the safety of large transports in the downtown saying they may not be able to stop for pedestrians as easily as cars. There is also concern for the extra wear and tear put on the roadway.
One of the main groups using the road is grain haulers headed to the ethanol plant in St. Clair Township. So in January, town officials met with Suncor officials asking them to divert the transports from Petrolia Line.
CAO Manny Baron was, at first, optimistic about the meeting saying there seemed to be fewer trucks. “But two weeks after that it seemed to be as bad as what it was before if not worse.”
Mayor John McCharles says the company may be doing all it can, but with different drivers heading to the plant and using GPS to find it, the situation has not improved.
McCharles adds it is more than the grain haulers which are a problem. “We have trucks with gasoline who come this way out of the Sun Oil turn because it is an easier route…I’ve had people tell me there are two or three trucks which come from Clean Harbors (hazardous waste landfill)…one guy who worked there told me they carry some really nasty stuff.”
So town council wants to pass a bylaw which would ban all transports except for local deliveries, transport drivers getting home or construction vehicles which could prove they’re in the area for work on Petrolia Line from Oil Heritage Road to Marthaville Road.
Since Petrolia Line is a county road, the town must get the permission of county council. The proposed Petrolia bylaw will have to be examined by Lambton County Council committees – likely in late August or September – and then be discussed and approved by county council a month after that.
McCharles hopes there will be support at the political level for the restrictions. “I think most of county council is aware of our concerns; I don’t think that’s a problem.”
If the county approves of the bylaw, Baron and McCharles say police will be able to enforce the bylaw and get the trucks off the roadway.
“This is first step towards getting some control over the truck traffic,” said McCharles as council gave approval to move ahead with the proposed bylaw Monday night.