Trans Mountain work causes safety issues for Coquitlam store

Blue fences create safety hazard for drivers, manager says; The City of Coquitlam is also raising the issue after hearing complaints from drivers trying to negotiate the construction of a pipeline along United Boulevard.

When Craig Gagnon leaves his job in the evening, he has to run a gauntlet of cars which makes the young pet store manager fear for his life.

Turning right or left from Mr. Pet’s parking lot at 1555 United Blvd., where he works, is extremely dangerous because line of sight on the busy road is blocked by blue picket fences.

The palisade — now ubiquitous along United Boulevard for several blocks — hides construction work on the new Trans Mountain pipeline.

“It’s scary,” he said.

According to Gagnon, the sightline issue has been an issue for him and his staff, as well as customers — many of whom also complain that the picket fence also conceals the entrance to the store.

The fence also blocks store signage, making it difficult for the store to attract customers.

Mr. Pet’s has only been open since May 2021, making ongoing construction a huge issue for the new store, Gagnon said, and while Trans Mountain is providing flagmen, they’re not on after-hours duty. of construction.

He said Mr. Pet’s repeatedly raised his concerns with Trans Mountain.

“They stick to their guns and say it’s safe.”

He would like to see improved signage so that customers can easily find the store, as well as improved security measures when flaggers leave for the day or are not there on weekends.

Even the town’s mayor is upset by the potential security risks created by the blue palisade.

Mayor Richard Stewart said he’s asked the city’s engineering department to speak further with Trans Mountain to address safety issues.

“When I was there, it was obvious that the lines of sight were severely compromised by the fenced screens,” Stewart said.

Although Trans Mountain has posted signs that businesses are open, they are small and difficult to see when driving along the narrow, one-lane road through the construction project on United Boulevard.

Construction has been underway for several months with no end in sight.

According to Trans Mountain, efforts have been made to keep companies informed of the progress of the project, and safety is a priority.

“We have contacted and spoken with the owner and manager of Mr. Pet’s about this signage concern and are working directly with them to address it,” a company spokesperson said in an email.

Construction in the area is occurring in phases along United Boulevard, Hartley Avenue, Rogers Avenue and on private property, with some work ending at the end of April and others at the end of the year.

“We will continue to update local businesses on progress and completion, the spokesperson said.

But if that’s enough, the city of Coquitlam carries little weight.

It has no jurisdiction over the project, which belongs to the federal government.

The city initially objected to the location of the pipeline along United Boulevard, but the route was approved by the Canada Energy Regulator anyway, Stewart said.

“I think they need to make sure that community and business impacts are addressed and that the project moves at a pace that eliminates those impacts as quickly as possible.”

Trans Mountain, meanwhile, said it was already working with businesses to reduce the impact of construction, including creating a business support plan with support from the Tri-City Chamber of Commerce and providing regular updates.

“Safety is our priority. Trans Mountain’s traffic management team constantly monitors the area to ensure sightlines are deemed adequate for driving,” a company spokesperson said in the statement. an email to Tri-City News.

“Our commitment to businesses is to keep at least one aisle accessible to their employees, customers and delivery vehicles. All aisles are secured by a traffic controller during construction hours.

“When traffic controllers are not present at driveway accesses, there is not significant construction traffic impacting that location, and drivers should proceed with caution.”

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