Interest groups present concerns to Halifax councillors regarding side guard rules

Click to play video: 'Transportation Standing Committee discusses side guard requirements for trucks' Transportation Standing Committee discusses side guard requirements for trucks
WATCH: Representatives from a couple of groups that represent contractors and players in trucking industry presented concerns to Halifax councillors on Thursday. Steve Silva has the story – May 24, 2018

Lawyers representing groups concerned about Halifax’s rules for side guards on certain trucks made separate presentations to councillors on Thursday, arguing for changes.

“The trucker needs to get in underneath all of that to be able to do the pre-trip inspection, and at 14″, I hate to say it, but some of my clients aren’t actually going to fit under a 14″ obstruction,” Bruce Clarke, who spoke on behalf of the Transportation Association of Nova Scotia, told members of the Transportation Stand Committee.

READ MORE: Halifax begins installing side guards on city heavy duty vehicles

He added that the side guards can get damaged depending on the topography of different construction sites. He said they aren’t always easy to add to smaller trucks, and they could get in the way when doing repairs and maintenance.

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Halifax Regional Council previously adopted two approaches to side guards on trucks over 45,000 kilograms that have space between their wheels in the municipality.

New municipal trucks will get side guards from the onset, and the rest will be retrofitted with the side guards in the next two years.

Contractors working for the municipality have been required to use trucks with side guards as of April 1, though subcontractors don’t need to. The rule was originally supposed to come into effect a year prior, but was delayed.

The rules, which other cities have adopted similar versions of, apply only to trucks doing work for the municipality because rules for other trucks would be a matter for the provincial government, according to Bruce Zvaniga, director of Transportation and Public Works.

“It is clear that it’s not an easy thing for industry to do, that there are some challenges for industry to meet that, so we’re looking for a way to achieve that goal without making it impossible,” he said.

A staff report is expected to go to councillors in July on the municipality’s progress on the side guard rules and the issues that have arisen.

William Mahody, who spoke on behalf of the Nova Scotia Association of Road Builders, brought up several issues the organization had with the rules, including a lack of clarity on the rules.

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He declined an interview request from Global News outside of the meeting.

“The purpose of side guards is to ensure the safety of the community, so if we’re making an exemption, are we staying true to that goal and that purpose?” Kelsey Lane, Halifax Cycling Coalition’s executive director, said in an interview following the meeting.

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