An issue raised on Social Media elicits an on-the-ground response within 24 hours
It started with a post by Bev Wigney of the Annapolis Royal & Area – Environment & Ecology Public Facebook Group yesterday, commenting on a member [SES] who
… lives in West Dalhousie on land adjacent to Crown Land.
Unfortunately, there is a road right through her property – it is a municipal road but it does cross through her land right beside her house — between her house and other buildings.
The logging trucks are supposed to respect this situation, but they don’t. The forest beyond her property used to be Bowater land, but since the Crown took over, the trucks using the road have been totally disrespectful — driving far too fast on a very narrow road. The road is being destroyed and not maintained.
They go through at all hours — speeding. They are running B-Train trucks (double trailer trucks) on this route – which is not permitted. They have forced her off the road and knocked the mirror on her vehicle without stopping. They have forced waste pickup, postal delivery and others off the road. They won’t obey speed, or slow down signs.
She has been trying (without any success) to get these jerks to slow down. She has made calls to those who should be enforcing regulations on these roads. She has called the harvest companies who contract these guys. No one is doing anything about the situation! She has suggested that they use another access road that, while somewhat longer, would take them “around” her land. That would be the best solution of all.
So Bev W. asked for volunteers to start calling WestFor “to say that you are calling with regard to [the complainant’s] property in Annapolis County — where trucks are going through her yard on their way to the forest — that they are not obeying safe speed limits and we expect Westfor to do something to make this stop.”
And today, WestFor started getting the phone calls, most callers reporting that they could not talk to anyone directly but had left a message.
In the meantime, SES received a phone call from Evan in the Premier’s Office:
I just got off the phone with Evan from McNeil’s office, Truer words were never spoken. The govt gives Westfor a contract, so I say well make Westfor responsible as they should be. Well, he says, I just don’t know that Govt can do that.
What???? The govt gave them the contract, the govt has the right to have safety rules adhered to, roads traveled by vehicles needs to be safe, if they are not acting accordingly or appropriately then WHY CAN’T govt enforce this. Just then a tractor trailer roles by my place. It has traveled on a couple of roads, the bed of the tractor trailer is filled with bark and debris as he is heading into the woods for another load.
We aren’t supposed to leave ice or snow on top of our cars in winter due to road hazards for other drivers, why is this truck traveling on municipal road like that where debris can fly off and hurt another vehicle or its persons.
Bev W also called the Premier’s Office in Middelton, and it seems, the message finally got through:
I just got off the phone with Evan who works at Premier McNeil’s MLA office in Middleton. He was calling me back as I left a message earlier this morning.
I explained that I’m the admin person for our 500 member Annapolis environment and ecology group on facebook. He said that they’re taking the Heartland Road matter seriously and looking into what can be done. He also said that it’s good to have people calling in. They are getting a lot of calls about heavy truck traffic — and it HELPS when people call to report what is going.
He also said that there has definitely been an increase in truck traffic in our areas.It’s growing. Again, that it’s important to make them aware of problems areas. I told him that since we posted about this last night, we’re hearing from people along 201 who are feeling endangered by the increase in aggregate trucks using this highway which is really just a very narrow rural road with farm equipment, school buses and bicycle tour companies all on this winding, hilly road. Something tragic is going to happen. The trucks are using 201 instead of 101. Again, something has to be done.
Anyhow, he says they are listening and they WANT to know about the problems. So, everyone, please DO get on the phone and make those calls to let them know this kind of traffic isn’t acceptable in our communities!
Bev W also sent an e-mail to Warden Habinski & members of the Annapolis Councty Council Forest Advisory Committee providing more details, appended below.
It’s an evolving story and clearly calls for more than self-regulation by the industry.
Like yesterday’s version, it also calls for a response from Forest Nova Scotia as “the respected voice of all sectors of a modern, renewable, socially responsible industry that is the globally competitive economic backbone of our province”, also as the main lobby group for lowered restrictions on B-trains in NS – and as the manager of the ACCESS ROAD CONSTRUCTION PROGRAM on behalf of the provincial government.
Just as I was about to publish this post, SES posted news of some progress:
Hi Everyone, I have to let you know that there are two trucks from Al’s Forestry that are honoring my wishes from slowing down to watching their travel through the night to help me out. Much appreciated by them to make my life a little better. Thanks Guys!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
and an hour later:
I am pleased to say, there have been some differences made already today. The tractor trailers and the pick up trucks that work back here ARE slowing down going by my place. The road is a dirt road and thus is 80 kms an hour. In the books if you read them it says residents mean slow down to 50 but even though it is in the books, it is not well known to most. They also don’t sign dirt roads. So Thank you Everyone for your help and concern. The slowing down at least by my place is a big help!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
“Well”, as BW commented, “that’s a good start. Yes, hopefully we can get them using the other route.” And hopefully B-train truckers are slowing down on all rural roads in NS.
It was less than 24 hours since the issue was first raised on Social Media.
So what are the B-Trains?
New road classifications allowing B-trains on more roads in NS were rolled out by TIR Minister Lloyd Hines (previously DNR Minister) on December 21, 2018 in a Press Release titled Province Reduces Regulatory Burden for Truck and Forestry Industries:
Road reclassifications to allow efficient truck axle configurations in Nova Scotia will help make the
trucking and forestry industries more competitive.
Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal Minister Lloyd
Hines says the department has worked with the trucking and
forestry industries to identify undue regulatory barriers.
The change allows B-trains – two trailers linked together
by a fifth wheel – to travel on additional roads, enabling the
movement of more materials at one time. This configuration
reduces damage to roads because the weight is spread out over
This change represents annual savings of $7 million to the
industries. It contributes to government’s $25 million red tape
Government expects the change to become effective by next
I’m not sure when the new traffic started, I guess it was earlier than the fall of 2019, as we aren’t there yet!
Forest NS had been campaigning for some time for these regulatory changes, and in 2010 enlisted no other than Dal Profs Bill Lahey and Peter Duinker to “look at the amount of red tape that is within our industry and what could possibly be done.”
Yes, those are the same Lahey and Duinker associated with the Independent Review of Forest Practices, whatever that says. (I don’t know. I do think Prof. Lahey approached the Review with an open mind.)
– Reposting: Planning ahead for Industrial forestry in Nova Scotia – allowing bigger trucks on our roads
Posted on NSFN January 3, 2019 (Original Post, Jan 28, 2018)
– Big guys versus the rest in Nova Scotia forestry
Posted on NSFN September 24, 2017
Letter from Bev Wigney to Warden Habinski & members of the Forest Advisory Committee
Aug 7, 2019, Posted on Annapolis Royal & Area – Environment & Ecology (Favebook Public Group).
Hello Warden Habinski & members of the Forest Advisory Committee,
I’m writing about a dangerous situation involving logging trucks in the West Dalhousie area. This hazardous situation is actually threatening several residents as well as those traveling on Heartland Road (once called Thorne Road) which runs south off of West Dalhousie Road (see attached map). It’s a 3 km. section of road that is very narrow — 17 feet wide — and it crosses three bridges ranging from 21 feet down to 17 feet and down to 12 feet wide (a wooden bridge – that is the total width of the timbers – not the drivable portion). Visibility is poor along the road as it is narrow and curving. The condition of the road is poor from such heavy logging truck traffic. Logging trucks use this road to access former Bowater land that is now Crown land. They have been harvesting over 1400 hectares of forest in that area for the past 5 years and have much more to harvest yet. They **could** use another new road that runs from the harvest areas out to West Dalhousie Road, but Heartland Road is shorter so they use that short-cut instead even though it means driving right through the yard of one of our Annapolis residents (photo attached).
The logging trucks are pulling B-Train trailers (double logging trailers) through that area even though that is not on the list of approved routes for B-Trains. You can see one in the photo I’ve attached. They are driving at excessive speeds even though Westfor posted “slow” signs after there were complaints about the speed. People have been forced off the road. Garbage trucks, Postal delivery vehicles, NS Power, and the land owner have had to get out of their way. The land owner had her mirror knocked off by a truck that ran her off into the ditch but didn’t stop after. People in our Annapolis environment group who live along West Dalhousie Road in the area close to Heartland Road corroborate that speeds are excessive and they fear for their children playing in their yards. Further, the trucks are often running with their work lights (basically like spotlights) on at night when they come through that area — which is pretty antagonistic to residents
Our Annapolis Royal and Area Environment and Ecology group has decided to do what we can to bring a halt to this current disrespect to area residents. We are calling Westfor today, and Premier McNeil, Dept of Transport and Infrastructure Renewal, and any other departments who could do something about this. That may bring about a temporary solution, but there is probably a longterm solution available.
Would it not be within the municipality’s powers to do something that would cause the logging trucks to use the alternate route that is available to them. If the 3 km. Heartland Road was officially made “closed to local traffic only” or “No trucks – only local service vehicles” that would provide a permanent solution. As has been seen in the past, warnings to the drivers of speed restrictions are either ignored, or soon disregarded, especially when a new contractor begins work in the area. We need a more permanent solution to this abominable situation.
Thank you for your consideration of this problem. I’m posting this email to our Annapolis facebook group. Any reply should be written so that it may be posted to address all of our 500 member group.
Admin for the ARAEE group.
AND A Response
(Aug 7, 2019)
EMAIL RECEIVED IN REPLY::::
SUBJECT:: Dangerous Logging Trucks in West Dalhousie – and a solution
REPLY FROM WARDEN TIMOTHY HABINSKI
Thank you for your correspondence.
I will request that a letter of support on this issue be placed on our Council agenda for the 19th. In addition I have called the departments of Land and Forestry, Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal, and the Premier’s office to request their intervention. The initial responses I have received indicate that there is no weight limit on Heartland Road, but I am pursuing the recommendation of an alternate route.
It is, however, important that the primary complaint be made by individuals directly affected by the activity of the trucks. We can provide letters of support, by resolution of Council, but cannot make a complaint on residents’ behalf.
In addition, if you have difficulty getting traction from the relevant departments on a breach of their legislation or regulations, you can also contact the office of the Ombudsman (https://ombudsman.novascotia.ca/). Support on such issues is their mandate.
Warden of the Municipality of the County of Annapolis