Equipment deliveries to a major farm show are being impractically restricted in the heart of farm country, say trucking companies.
Over-dimensional truckloads of farm machinery destined for Canada’s Farm Progress Show on Regina’s exhibition grounds were being grouped into four-truck convoys early and late in the day. Some trucking companies feel the new enforcement of existing city rules are impractical and not as widely known as necessary.
Highway repairs, a new warehousing project and football stadium construction might be causing more thorough enforcement of municipal traffic laws for movement of farm equipment in the city, say officials.
However, show staff say the City of Regina has long had rules about over-sized truckloads moving on city streets. Prairie farm equipment, much of which exceeds 12 feet wide or 82 feet long, can often be seen moving through the Saskatchewan capital during the growing season without a police escort.
“I am sure it happens, but the rules have been there a long time and we made sure to remind all of our exhibitors about them,” said Ken Taylor, a director of the exhibition park that hosts the show.
“We try to make sure the transport companies know as well.”
Trucking companies say it is impractical to marshal all of the equipment into short convoys outside of the city at 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. each day during the week before the June 17-19 event.
Mark Allan, who heads the Regina Exhibition Association, said the city got behind this year in processing the applications for over-sized loads.
He said the municipality realized too late in the process that it was creating problems for machinery companies.
“We intend to get everyone on site for the show. I do understand that it creates issues, and our exhibitors have significant investments in Progress Show,” he said.
“The city had folks working around the clock to clear up the backlog and they think they have a handle on it.”
The city began issuing more transport permits for machinery up to 14 or 15 feet wide late last week rather than requiring them to marshal outside the provincial capital and be led in by police escort as was stated as the initial requirement.
Allan said his staff does tell its show exhibitors that they need to register large loads with the city two weeks in advance, but that message it not always recognized.
Lee Moir, an equipment mover from Crystal City, Man., said the city told him May 25 that he could not deliver several loads of machinery until the day before the event was opening.
“We (Reflection Transport) have done this for years and this is new for us,” he said.
Trucking companies say the policy and lack of delivery opportunities result in fewer loads arriving in the city. As well, they say the down time will likely show up in increased costs to exhibitors.
Moir delivered his loads in this morning, one day ahead of the event’s preview day.
“It was tight,” he said.
“I can see the city wanting to be safe and traffic is an issue, but machinery travels, right or wrong, through these prairie cities every day. Drivers accept this is farm country.”
Allan said the exhibition association would be reviewing this year’s issues after the end of the show and work with the city to avoid problems next year.