The Township of Langley in B.C. is cracking down on illegal truck parking in rural areas, issuing 881 tickets resulting in more than $50,000 in fines last year.
Operators and property owners are using farmland to park a significant quantity of trucks in the municipality that lies in the Metro Vancouver region, Mayor Eric Woodward told TruckNews.com.
“They can cause some damage to the land for future use of farming. We have a number of residents who are very concerned. We are pursuing and enforcing bylaws that require them to park the trucks elsewhere,” he said.
The township is acting against an increasing number of property owners using agricultural and rural zoned land for commercial trucking operations, including vehicle storage and repairs, according to a news release.
The township’s bylaw enforcement department investigated 64 reported cases associated with commercial vehicle parking in 2023, successfully concluding 56 cases through enforcement measures.
Court injunctions are required for certain properties that continue to demonstrate persistent non-compliance. The township is actively pursuing court injunctions in connection with two files, and successfully obtained a court injunction in respect to another illegal commercial trucking operation last year.
Designated bylaw enforcement officers
Woodward said the township’s dedicated commercial vehicle unit has two to three designated bylaw enforcement officers. The process is mostly complaint-driven, but officers also have the authority that if they see a violation, they can follow it up.
Achieving voluntary compliance, especially with larger operators, has proven challenging, the township said. While the enforcement strategy primarily emphasizes voluntary compliance by collaborating with landowners, in certain circumstances authorities have sought compliance through legal channels.
Woodward said officials have met with individuals and others who feel there’s no alternative for them that’s affordable and available and within close proximity to where they need to park the trucks.
“We sympathize with their challenge, and we are advocating for a solution at the regional and provincial level. It hasn’t received much consideration from the region or the province of British Columbia,” Woodward said.
“For truck parking, we also need to find a real long-term solution, so this issue doesn’t just move from one parcel to another, from one community to another, in a never-ending cycle of ongoing bylaw enforcement. We need our partners at the provincial level, where the jurisdiction for the ALR [agricultural land reserve] rests, to do more to present real-world viable alternatives for the region,” he added in the news release.
The mayor also raised environmental concerns related to illegal truck parking. He said in some cases fill is laid out on farmland without a permit.
“They end up doing multiple violations in some cases. That can have environmental and long-term impacts when land is being used without proper detention, drainage and sediment control. They’re doing it without any of those safeguards,” Woodward said.
Section 108 of the township’s zoning bylaw allows the parking or storage of a maximum of three commercial vehicles on most rural properties as an accessory to residential use. Any businesses engaged in commercial trucking or repair must obtain a business licence, which cannot be issued if the business is not permitted under zoning regulations.
“It’s our job to say that if it’s not permitted on farmland, then you’re going to have to park trucks somewhere else. We sympathize with the industry and want to see a solution. We are working with property owners to increase the supply of truck parking where it’s permitted,” the mayor said.
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