ICBC wants to build new type of truck driving test station in Walnut Grove

If it goes ahead, it will be the first of its kind in Metro, with focus on new truck drivers

ICBC has applied to rezone 5.6 acres of property at 20219 96 Ave. for a first-of-its-kind centralized driver testing facility for commercial trucks.

If approved, this will be the first truck testing facility in the Lower Mainland specifically focused on new drivers wishing to operate commercial trucks.

The facility will also offer motorcycle driver testing.

All the testing happens outside the building. The building will be 8,000 square feet and the facility will provide 20 full-time jobs, said a report to Township council. Hours of operation would be Monday to Friday.

For truck testing traffic, a truck entry is being proposed off of 96 Avenue, at the southwest corner of the site with an exit provided at 97 Avenue.

At the last meeting, Township council voted unanimously to give the application first and second reading.

Before the vote, Township Coun. Kim Richter asked about the former AirCare building in Langley City, and if it is a suitable location for the new facility.

“It almost seems a shame to make them build a brand new building when there’s a building there that was already used for vehicle testing,” she said.

Township Mayor Jack Froese explained that ICBC needs more room than that facility offers. The proposal includes several parking bays for semi trucks and trailers, a weigh station and a motorcycle testing ground, “which take a lot more space than the AirCare facility would (provide),” he said.

“Isn’t this testing driver capacity, not engine functionality?” Coun. Charlie Fox asked. He noted that driver testing used to take place at a Langley City facility on Logan Avenue and 203 Street.

Froese repeated that this facility will offer more than what ICBCs other buildings had.

“It’s interesting to me that this is the first of its kind opportunity, and it seems like, potentially, it would be good in this community,” said Coun. Petrina Arnason.

There is, however, a residential area to the south, and noise could be an issue, she added.

“I do support it going forward. Just looking forward to hearing what the feedback would be on those specific [noise] concerns,” Arnason said.

Because rezoning is required, the application will go to public hearing.

The proponent noted that it is “important to understand the critical nature of the line of sight relationship between truck arrival driveway and controller within the facility building. This relationship is essential to the operational logic of the proposed facility.”

As trucks arrive, they are weighed by a scale concealed in the roadway. This is a multi-step process: driving the vehicle axle-by-axle across a pad. The procedure is managed by ICBC staff sitting at a counter in the main building, using an outdoor digital screen to communicate with the driver in the cab, the report explains.

Once the truck has been weighed and assessed, it must pause adjacent the weighing area, before proceeding into one of the 11 primary site bays (the angled parking bays in the middle of the site). This sequence is also managed from the building. Like an air traffic controller, the staffer at the main desk manages all of this movement on the site.

A total of 48 parking spaces (in conjunction with the centralized testing facility) are proposed. The truck testing area will provide an additional 11 commercial testing bays.

Files from Langley Times reporter Miranda Gathercole

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