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Truck driver training in Orillia 'problematic' for nearby residents

Safety concerns raised by residents who live near Orillia DriveTest Centre; 'It is time for the Orillia testing centre to be relocated'

Residents who live near the Orillia DriveTest Centre are raising concerns about the number of large trucks in the area.

A letter to city council signed by more than 10 residents cites a number of issues with drivers of transport trucks training out of the Laclie Street facility and using Old Muskoka Road.

“The commercial and trucking licence driving tests take place at the back of the building and appear to be exclusively accessed from Old Muskoka Road. The primary area of concern is with this aspect of activities at the test centre,” the residents wrote.

“The first and primary concern about the testing conducted at the back of the test centre is safety. We often have large transport trucks on both sides of the road waiting for their turn. It doesn’t appear that the trucks are ever turned off while in the area," they wrote.

"At times, transports and heavy trucks are parked from the bus stop in front of our building back to the intersection with Fittons Road. They sometimes block the sidewalks out of our building making it necessary for people to walk entirely out of their way to access another place to cross the ditch.”

One of the main concerns is for the residents of the apartment building at 412 Old Muskoka Rd.

“It’s a very small, very congested area and there are no sidewalks in front of 412 Old Muskoka Rd.,” said Coun. Pat Hehn. “In that particular complex, it’s nearly all senior citizens that live there and a lot of very senior, senior citizens. For them to be boxed in by the trucks and not be able to cross the road really becomes quite problematic.”

The residents said the trucks have become more of an issue in recent years, and Hehn agreed.

“It’s become a problem ... because now trucks are coming up from the GTA to take their tests here and there are a lot of trucks being tested,” she said.

Coun. Tim Lauer also addressed concerns about the safety of children who live in the area.

“There are lots of kids that walk up Old Muskoka Road and head to Couchiching Heights school,” he said, adding the situation creates an issue for seniors, too, who cross Old Muskoka Road to get to businesses in the Laclie Street Plaza, including the pharmacy.

This isn’t the first time residents have complained about the Orillia DriveTest Centre. Hehn said the matter came to the city about a year ago, with the concerns relating to automobile driver tests.

At the time, staff told council there wasn’t much the city could do, as driving tests are ultimately an operation of the province’s Ministry of Transportation.

Regardless, said Lauer, “what I think we should be doing here is looking after our own part of the bargain, which is the regulations that govern that street, and make it safe for kids walking to school, and seniors.”

He wants staff to look at the area and see if the city has cause to put in no-parking zones or parking time limits and report back on whether they see it as an issue. If staff identify any concerns, the city could present them to the ministry in an attempt to address the issue, he said.

In their letter, the residents stated they want to see the Orillia DriveTest Centre moved to another location.

“It is time for the Orillia testing centre to be relocated to an industrial area where there is ample parking for drivers waiting for their tests and sufficient private yard space to safely control and conduct the necessary parking tests,” they wrote. “We ask the city of Orillia to approach the Ministry of Transportation and propose a relocation of the test centre. If the city staff can identify some options for the ministry, even better.”

Staff will report back to council on the matter at a later date.


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Nathan Taylor

About the Author: Nathan Taylor

Nathan Taylor is the desk editor for Village Media's central Ontario news desk in Simcoe County and Newmarket.
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