July 16, 2013 - 1:38 PM
VERNON - The Lac-Mégantic rail disaster last week in Quebec reminded a local politician that even the unlikeliest accidents can and do happen, and he has an idea for how Vernon can be better protected.
Coun. Bob Spiers would like to see trucks hauling hazardous materials stick to one direct route, away from schools and residential areas if possible, when travelling through the city.
"There is no hazardous material route so trucks don't know where to go," he said. "I've heard from people who say hazardous material trucks have gotten lost and wound up in (residential) neighbourhoods. My idea is (they) should only be on the highway."
Spiers says other communities have established specific trucking routes complete with signs to guide truck drivers quickly and safely through town.
"I'd asked about this about a year ago when our emergency preparedness team was giving a presentation," Spiers says.
After a train carrying over 70 cars of crude oil crashed and exploded, leaving 50 people missing and presumed dead, Spiers felt compelled to see how far things had progressed in Vernon. Staff confirmed they are looking into the possibility of a designated trucking route, and will be reporting back to council at a later date.
"My concern is a lot of the Hazmat trucks go down 27th Avenue, past a lot of schools and residential areas," Spiers says. "If you're coming through town with a Hazmat load, you want to use the route safest for you, and safest for the public. I don't think it will ever happen, but if it does, do we want a spill in front of one of our schools?"
To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at firstname.lastname@example.org, call (250)309-5230 or tweet @charhelston.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013