Log truck complaints come thick and fast

Noise, dust, safety and sleep deprivation main problems.

Noise, dust, safety and sleep deprivation main problems.

INCREASED logging truck movement on urban roads could lead to a change in who pays for road repairs and more public complaints over dust and noise issues.

At a meeting of Gisborne District Council’s assets and infrastructure committee, Tairawhiti Roads general manager Dave Hadfield said over the past six months there had been a “massive increase” in the number of complaints made to the council regarding the use of the rural and urban roading network by forestry and logging contractors.

Last month Awapuni Road residents voiced their concern over increased truck movements that they said had caused noise and dust issues.

Mr Hadfield said that had not been the only place residents had raised issues.

It had resulted in “a number of very challenging problems” for Tairawhiti Roads staff.

“Tairawhiti Roads’ journey manager Helen Harris had to negotiate communications between residents and forestry companies to work through some low-level resolutions to help the parties go about their business.

“This has included on-site meetings between the parties and the use of traffic management plans to help residents and trucking companies decide when they will be on the roads.

“The problem is significant for the council and more roads of this nature are coming on-stream as forests are harvested.

“As the road-controlling authority, the council is limited in what it can actually do for the residents and this will continue to be a major issue during the upcoming community consultation meetings.”

Complaints ranged from roads not being wide enough, to trucks causing dust issues and residents having to put up with heavy vehicles operating 24/7, resulting in a lack of sleep, house vibrations and “a perceived” safety issue.

“The public have requested a range of mitigation options — from widening and sealing roads, stopping logging altogether, and installing mirrors and cut-away corners to increase visibility.”

Mr Hadfield said the growth in forestry meant decisions would have to be made on how to deal with the increased use of urban roads.

Mirrors would be trialled but it was complicated by the different driver heights of truck cabs and cars.

Councillor Graeme Thomson said the issue of rating redistributions and weighting for rural and urban road users would be assessed during the upcoming long-term plan consultations.

“In summary, we have got some work to do with our finance team in our long-term plan.”

“We really need to have those conversations.”

Councillor Bill Burdett said the issue was “far bigger” than just a rural issue.

“Forestry is a huge industry but with it comes costs to our community. Somehow we have to come to grips with how we move forward because time and again we see contractors back in there fixing roads that have already been fixed . . . it’s a very difficult issue.”

Brian Wilson said the committee would need a breakdown of how much repair costs had been in specific areas to assess if the weighting was fair or needed to change.

INCREASED logging truck movement on urban roads could lead to a change in who pays for road repairs and more public complaints over dust and noise issues.

At a meeting of Gisborne District Council’s assets and infrastructure committee, Tairawhiti Roads general manager Dave Hadfield said over the past six months there had been a “massive increase” in the number of complaints made to the council regarding the use of the rural and urban roading network by forestry and logging contractors.

Last month Awapuni Road residents voiced their concern over increased truck movements that they said had caused noise and dust issues.

Mr Hadfield said that had not been the only place residents had raised issues.

It had resulted in “a number of very challenging problems” for Tairawhiti Roads staff.

“Tairawhiti Roads’ journey manager Helen Harris had to negotiate communications between residents and forestry companies to work through some low-level resolutions to help the parties go about their business.

“This has included on-site meetings between the parties and the use of traffic management plans to help residents and trucking companies decide when they will be on the roads.

“The problem is significant for the council and more roads of this nature are coming on-stream as forests are harvested.

“As the road-controlling authority, the council is limited in what it can actually do for the residents and this will continue to be a major issue during the upcoming community consultation meetings.”

Complaints ranged from roads not being wide enough, to trucks causing dust issues and residents having to put up with heavy vehicles operating 24/7, resulting in a lack of sleep, house vibrations and “a perceived” safety issue.

“The public have requested a range of mitigation options — from widening and sealing roads, stopping logging altogether, and installing mirrors and cut-away corners to increase visibility.”

Mr Hadfield said the growth in forestry meant decisions would have to be made on how to deal with the increased use of urban roads.

Mirrors would be trialled but it was complicated by the different driver heights of truck cabs and cars.

Councillor Graeme Thomson said the issue of rating redistributions and weighting for rural and urban road users would be assessed during the upcoming long-term plan consultations.

“In summary, we have got some work to do with our finance team in our long-term plan.”

“We really need to have those conversations.”

Councillor Bill Burdett said the issue was “far bigger” than just a rural issue.

“Forestry is a huge industry but with it comes costs to our community. Somehow we have to come to grips with how we move forward because time and again we see contractors back in there fixing roads that have already been fixed . . . it’s a very difficult issue.”

Brian Wilson said the committee would need a breakdown of how much repair costs had been in specific areas to assess if the weighting was fair or needed to change.

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Dave Henderson - 2 months ago
Again, why is it the council doesn't react until the ratepayers speak up? A tree doesn't grow overnight. Surely, the council, ratepayers and forestry companies could get together before harvesting and come up with solutions. At least all concerned are then in the loop.

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