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Reduced load exemptions for farmers could continue in 2020

Reduced load exemptions for farmers transporting perishable, or market-sensitive food and feed will likely continue for 2020.

At Thursday’s Committee of the Whole meeting, council agreed to continue this year’s temporary permit process regarding road access to markets during reduced load periods.

The County enforces reduced load limits in the spring as a low-cost way to protect roads during thaw. But the farming community has expressed concern the reduced load periods create difficulty to transport products to market in a cost-effective, and timely way.

During the 2019 temporary exemption period one permit was issued, requiring a sworn affidavit from the producer and a damage deposit of $2,500. The cost of the application was $25.

Council approved keeping the same process in place, with a call-in for use similar to fire department permits, over a staff recommendation for reduced load exemptions on a per load basis at a fee of $125 per trip.

“The current application fee rate of $25 does not generate adequate funds required to recoup the cost of properly assessing the roadway for damage after a trip is completed,” the report states, noting a $125 fee will, and would also ensure staff is notified of when the load will be taking place.

John Thompson, of the PEC Federation of Agriculture, stated it would be difficult finding assigning blame as water, fuel, animal feed and milk trucks are already approved for use during reduced load periods.

While staff recommends approving the exemptions, the report also noted concern that if the municipality allows exemptions for one business sector, it may invite other types of business sectors to make similar requests.

Official approval of the bylaw would come to council’s next regular meeting.

Filed Under: Local News

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