Trucks taking a toll, say residents

By Liz Wylie

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TOO LOUD: Carlton Ave residents say big trucks parking outside their houses are causing consternation.PHOTO/SUPPLIED
TOO LOUD: Carlton Ave residents say big trucks parking outside their houses are causing consternation.PHOTO/SUPPLIED

Big trucks with big engines starting up in the early morning hours are a long-standing problem for Whanganui man Colin Thompson.

The Carlton Ave resident said the long-haul truck drivers are staying at the nearby Gateway Motel in Heads Rd which provides a large carpark but a number of drivers park in the residential area.

Mr Thompson said the drivers often start their engines at 4am or 5am and leave them running for several minutes before driving away.

"The problem didn't exist when we bought the house five years ago and it has been getting worse over the past 18 months," said Mr Thompson.

"I have started parking my car in front of the house rather than in the garage but they still manage to park around it."

Mr Thompson's neighbour, Jay Bardell, said his family have been woken by the sound of the air brakes on the trucks as well as the engine noise in the early mornings.

"Those air brakes are really loud and the trucks often park outside our house at about 11 o'clock at night when my family has just gotten to sleep.

"My wife suffers from back pain and it is hard for her to get to sleep so we don't appreciate being woken at that time."

Mr Bardell said he has also had to ask a driver to move a truck that was parked over his driveway. Whanganui District Council was first approached by Mr Thompson in late 2014 to try to resolve the problem and he has spoken to several councillors about it as well.

"I have also written to council staff and visited the offices on a number of occasions," he said.

"I just don't get a response and it is very frustrating.

"Even if I got a reply saying there is nothing they can do and I just have to live with it - at least I would know they had read and considered my letters."

According to Whanganui District Council regulatory and customer services manager Bryan Nicholson it is not illegal for trucks to park in residential areas as long as they are parked as close to the kerb as possible, do not obstruct driveways and have a parking light on.

"The council is currently reviewing our traffic and parking bylaw and within that, restrictions can be made on trucks parking in residential areas," Mr Nicholson said.

"We haven't received a lot of complaints about this issue, but if we do, we will consider our options."

Gateway Motel owner Janet Harden said she has been hosting long-haul truck drivers at the motel for 30 years and there have been no complaints until recently.

"I encourage guests to park in our carpark and I don't have any control over where they park if they choose not to. Most of them are very considerate and they co-operate with each other about sharing the space." Mrs Harden said she heard that one driver was starting his truck up and leaving it to idle while he had a cup of coffee.

"I asked him not to do that and I ask all the drivers to keep their idling times to a minimum."

Council staff suggested a round table meeting with neighbours and Mrs Harden said she expected it to happen last year.

"I would prefer to sit down and talk about it face to face but no one came back to me." Mr Thompson said he thinks drivers could park their trucks down on Taupo Quay if the motel carpark is full and make the five-minute walk to the motel.

Scott Sherson of RMD Transport said there are problems with parking trucks in industrial areas at night because of vandalism.

"We have had incidents where trailers have been tagged and diesel siphoned from trucks," he said.

"We discourage our drivers from starting the trucks and leaving them to idle.

"Apart from it being inconsiderate to residents, it is unnecessary because the engines warm up while they are driving out of town and it wastes fuel to leave them running."

A spokesman at Freight Lines head office said the company does not have responsibility for where drivers park on long-haul trips and did not wish to comment.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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