Gravel Trucks Revisited

Notes from a reader …accident6

In your Monday August 11, 2014 posting you reviewed, fairly extensively, the dangers due to over loading of gravel trucks.

Well, it seems that Mathew Strader from the Enterprise newspaper in Caledon has now placed the spot light clearly on this “disaster in waiting”. Read the article in its entirety here:

http://www.caledonenterprise.com/news-story/4767471-weight-compliance-issues-abound-in-aggregate-industry/

However, the problems remain the same …

Stone-walling at all levels of government.

Mathew could not pry the full report from the MTO.

Mathew could not get any support from the current Caledon council.

In fact, Allan Thompson, who is currently running for Mayor in Caledon, suggested Greg Sweetnam, vice president at James Dick Construction Ltd. as someone to speak to for answers.

Now there are a couple of problems with this statement.

1) As an elected official, and mayoral candidate, and so duly charged with public safety by his position as a Regional Councillor, how is it possible for Mr. Thompson to not have a very firm position on this extremely important issue? He is part of the Regional Task Force recommending rural residential Mountainview Road and Horseshoe Hill Road as heavy truck haul routes, but seems to have no concern, and definitely no position on truck safety.
2) And, in addition, Mr. Thompson has been made aware of this report, and been questioned numerous times by a Caledon resident over the past 14 months, and has not answered.

So now Mr. Thompson defers his answer on the safety of Caledon citizens back to the operators responsible for these dangers in the first place? What a joke!

Caledon residents came to expect this type of avoidance from Mayor Morrison, but now coming from a new mayoral candidate?

How’s that for ‘leadership’?

According to Mr. Woozageer from the MTO:
“Any overweight vehicle is a concern. Overloading vehicles has immediate and long-term effects on road safety and infrastructure,” he wrote in an email. “Compliance with Ontario’s weight requirements has been an issue for aggregate haulers for many years. Over the years, MTO has implemented several changes related to vehicle weights and dimensions that should have addressed these issues, however, overloading with the aggregate industry continues. The ministry’s main concern is the safety of all those using our highways.”

So…The MTO states: ‘major problem, big concern.’

Allan Thompson states: ‘I don’t know.’

There has to be a better choice for Mayor in Caledon. What about that Sinclair guy?

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Only the Shadow Knows

Most of us were not born at the time “The Shadow” prowled the weekly radio station.

Shadow2But most of us have heard the expression,
“Only the Shadow knows.”

Well, in Caledon it seems that it’s not so much that the Shadow knows, but that the people who are making the decisions are “In the Shadows!”

Let’s take the “Peel Strategic Goods Movement Plan” as an example.

The apparently inept Councillor Allan Thompson, who now wants to be Mayor, and his partner in this potential ‘crime’, Councillor Richard Whitehead, were Caledon representatives at the Regional task force table to discuss the potential new haul routes that will have gravel trucks belching their exhaust through the rural residential areas of the fair town of Caledon.

After years of backroom conversations (since at least 2004) between all the “stakeholders” (except the residents who happen to live on those roads and have most at stake), the Region of Peel and the Town of Caledon presented their findings at an information meeting last Spring.

According to two people who were in attendance, the statement was emphatic that Horseshoe Hill would NOT BE A HAUL ROUTE despite the “recommendation” of the task force! Similarly, another ‘recommended’ route – Mountainview Rd.- was said to be highly unlikely. This information came from councillor Richard Paterak, who was in attendance.

Since then … NOT SO SURE!

It seems the information brought back from Caledon’s other-worldly elected ‘scholars’ may have been “lost in translation”, or maybe they were just poorly informed, or perhaps they just poorly informed their electors.

Horseshoe Hill is still on the table as a possible haul route, and is undergoing an extensive, and expensive, feasibility study.

Is it just a coincidence that the biggest benefactors of this new haul route would be Jame Dick Construction, who owns the planned pit at Highway 9 and Horseshoe Hill Rd., as well as other haulers who are presently stuck with Airport Rd. through Caledon East if they want to avoid the weigh scales on Hwy 10?

According to the emails we have seen bandied about, there was no representation from Caledon’s aggregate industry at the Regional meetings on the proposed haul routes; just Town Councillors Thompson and Whitehead! But it’s certain that these “developer friendly” councillors were well aware of what James Dick’s preference would be for a new truck route to the GTA!

Were the residents who live on Horseshoe Hill Rd. or Mountainview Rd. made aware that their roads could soon be infested with heavy trucks hauling from Highway 9 to Olde Baseline Rd, and beyond to Mayfield Rd. and 410 Hwy.?
No! Their opinions and desires seem to be inconsequential to the current Caledon council and their Regional cohorts.

According to the Caledon Council mind-trust, there is only a 1% chance that Horseshoe Hill could be turned into a new haul route.
However, we should also consider that Dixie Road all the way north to where it meets Horseshoe Hill is already a Regional road that it is now definitely heavy truck worthy, ever since renovations a couple of years ago.
And, is it just a coincidence that the stop signs at Dixie/Horseshoe Hill and Olde Base Line have been replaced by the first, and we believe only, roundabout intersection in Caledon, designed to facilitate traffic movement?
We’d guess that the decision to turn Horseshoe Hill into a haul route was made three years ago, and the money spent on Dixie and the roundabout are proof that the Region and Town have already decided that Horseshoe Hill will be a haul route. All they need now is a ‘study’ that gives them a green light to do what they’ve clearly said they want to do.

The residents hope we’re wrong.

However, as the saying goes, “Only the Shadow Knows” for sure!

Or maybe we should ask Allan Thompson and Richard Whitehead what’s been happening “In the Shadows”!

Propaganda?

Dedicated to Digging for Truth, Blasting the Myths, and Etching Reality in Stone.

Propaganda Definition: Manipulation of information to influence public opinion. The term comes from Congregatio de Propaganda Fide (Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith), a missionary organization established by the Pope in 1622. Propagandists emphasize the elements of information that support their position and de-emphasize or exclude those that do not. Misleading statements and even lies may be used to create the desired effect in the public audience. Lobbying, advertising, and missionary activity are all forms of propaganda, but the term is most commonly used in the political arena. Prior to the 20th century, pictures and the written media were the principal instruments of propaganda; radio, television, motion pictures, and the Internet later joined their ranks. Authoritarian and totalitarian regimes use propaganda to win and keep the support of the populace.
propaganda2
So does a delightful fun-filled event in or near a pit or quarry fit into this picture?
How would you categorize a great family outing at a water-contaminating, toxics-spewing, noise-generating, road-destroying, property-value-sucking pit?
That could be a fun day, eh?
And what if they toss in a bouncy castle for the kids?
And how about “Rocky” the gravel mascot? How “cute” is he?

bouncycastle

Do you really expect him to be handing out a copy of the Material Safety Data Sheet section 3: “Hazardous Identification” form. (It describes the toxic effects of continuous exposure to gravel products.) Wouldn’t the kids be thrilled to learn that exposure to gravel toxins can cause bronchitis, emphysema, COPD, pulmonary disease, systematic lupus, erythermatosus, rheumatoid arthritis, tuberculosis and diseases affecting the kidneys, and more?

MSDSwarning

Next, how about a few more rides!
There could be the “Road to Deafness” ride for participants of all ages. Basically, that would be a trip past an operating crusher in a loader’s bucket with some free balloons!

loaderbucketride

What’s a good time without some thrills?
Why not an “It’s free now, but you pay later” run past eighteen idling trucks? No charge for the run, but give it a few years for the toxins to do their work on your lungs for a “pay later” trip to the hospital.
Why not a bus tour through the “Deserted Neighbourhood”. That would be a trip to see all the houses that were abandoned due to the pit or quarry operating too close to someone’s home and destroying their life savings!
Now, we don’t blame those stone age entertainers for their attempts to be “good guys”. After all, even though they move into a neighbourhood, destroy property values, contaminate the air, and possibly the water, etc., who wants to be known for that??
They make millions in profit while taking millions in property values from the nearby homes.
But that’s OK! They hand out free hotdogs, balloons and hard hats!

What, Me Worry?

Dedicated to Digging for Truth, Blasting the Myths, and Etching Reality in Stone.
Do you know “MAD Magazine” with their fearless poster child Alfred E. Neuman and his motto, “What, Me Worry?”

Every month, MAD Magazine has featured Alfred’s fiery red hair, car door ears and goofy smile on the cover of their magazine, and it is something to look forward to.

Alfred-E-Neuman
Little did we know that some of our aggregate operators would pick up his “What, Me worry?” motto as a way of doing business!

You want proof?

Just consider the “Aggregate Vehicle Survey Analysis” performed on behalf of the Ontario government in 2012.

38.3% to 47.7% of the 434 aggregate trucks inspected “exceeded their allowable gross weight”, while another 33.7% exceeded the enforcement tolerance!

That’s more than half of the aggregate trucks on the road running with disregard for the safety of others! You know … “What, Me Worry?”

It’s nice to see the Ontario government actually doing something constructive about aggregate trucks. Now they have the information…..what are they going to do about it?

But a more important question is…Why did this not come up sooner? Maybe in the yearly “Self Monitoring Checklist” or possibly on the “Truck Weight Numbers” collected by each individual operator.

What is a driver to do when he gets on the weight scale situated at each pit or quarry operation and he finds he is overloaded? It seems that too often he carries on with business as normal. “What … Me Worry?”

Do the operators actually report that the truck left loaded with extra tonnes of product? Do they record the maximum allowable weight on their reports?

“If” reports are falsified it would be paramount to tax evasion or fraud, as they would not be paying the people of Ontario sufficient levies for their haulage.

If the driver leaves the pit or quarry knowing he is overloaded, and he has an accident causing death … would he and the owner be charged with manslaughter? Or is it just “What … Me Worry?” again?

So…why would an operator allow overloaded trucks on the road?  … Is it MONEY?

Well, duh.

More weight per truck means less truck travel to get the product to market, saving fuel and wages. HUGE MONEY! The technology to accurately weigh each load is widespretruck2ad. There are no excuses!

And, as with other broken rules and regulations at the MNR, we suspect the profits from cheating far outweigh the penalties. Could it be the MNR barely have a “bark” and definitely have no “bite” when it comes to enforcement of their rules and regulations?

So what’s the attitude of the aggregate operators when it comes to:
The safety of our children?
The safety of the rest of the road users of Ontario?
The damage to the roads that our tax dollars must constantly repair?

We would guess it would be “What, me worry?”

Alfred E. Neuman would be proud!

NOTE:
Many reports and documents come across our desk. We appreciate the information we get, so please feel free to send us more!