Greenstone mayor calls for more truck rest stops as transport trucks idle in Longlac

Report on issue due back to Greenstone council next month

The mayor of Greenstone is calling on the province to build more rest stops near the municipality to give transport truck drivers safe places to take breaks from the road.

“There’s one spot between Longlac and Hearst, and really room for just two or three [trucks] by Wild Goose Lake, outside of the Geraldton ward,” Greenstone Mayor Jamie McPherson said. “That’s it for them.”

However, the province recently mandated the use of e-logs in transport trucks, which automatically track hours and notify drivers when they’re at their limit and need to take a break.

Given the lack of rest stops, McPherson said, trucks have taken to overnighting in Longlac.

“If you drive through Longlac at midnight, you’ll see three rows of transports on one side, two rows of transports on the other side, because there’s physically space,” McPherson said. “It’s not where they should be. It’s right in the middle of town.”

“The tricks are idling. We need to get them into proper truck stops.”

McPherson’s statements come just over a week after after a transport left Highway 11 and struck two homes in Beardmore, which is part of the Municipality of Greenstone, during a snowstorm.

The incident occurred just before 1 a.m. on March 17. Nobody inside the homes was injured, but the occupants of the truck were taken to hospital. OPP are investigating, but no updates have been provided.

A white truck with blue lettering reading Total Logistics Trucking is seen partially inside a house in the early morning hours.
A transport truck struck two houses in Beardmore, Ont. early morning on March 17th. (Danelle Clarke/Facebook)

This was a deadly winter on highways in northwestern Ontario. Leaders across the region have called for improved trucking standards, better training for commercial drivers and other measures to improve safety on the roads. 

In 2020, the province announced plans to address the lack of rest stops in northwestern Ontario, either through expanding existing stops, or building new ones.

“They identified locations west of Beardmore and east of Longlac,” McPherson said. “We need those to happen.”

However, he said there’s been no word on when the rest stops will be completed.

“That’s why we’ve asked staff to to prepare a report for [Greenstone] council,” McPherson said. “They were to investigate what’s happening, and what can we do or who can we talk to.”

That report is due back next month.

“We need to get the information from staff as to what we have, what the options are, and then we can start pursuing those options,” McPherson said. “We know we’ve got an issue. It’s teally not a municipal issue, other than that is causing significant grief in the communities and the danger to our residents.”

Ministry of Transportation representatives did not respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.