Inland Kenworth’s Bill Morrison is hoping to be able to move this excavator and other equipment to a new location in North Campbell River pending city council’s approval.

Heavy equipment dealership’s move causes rumblings

The relocation was pending council approval of the company’s development permit application

A heavy duty truck and equipment dealer is relocating and one resident fears the business will hurt his neighbourhood.

Inland Kenworth, which deals in sales, parts and service of commercial trucks, as well as logging and mining equipment, is planning a move to accommodate its growing business.

The relocation was pending council approval of the company’s development permit application at Tuesday night’s council meeting after the Mirror went to press.

If approved, Inland Kenworth’s new home, the former Bill Howich RV site, will provide for a 24,326 square foot building – more than double the current 10,000 square foot facility Kenworth has occupied for the last 20 years.

“Basically we’ve outgrown the building we’re in,” said Bill Morrison, assistant manager of the Campbell River Inland Kenworth branch. “We’ve ran out of room in the parts warehouse.”

The company also has to do most of its repairs outside due to limited space in its four  service bays. In the new store, all of the work will be done inside, including washing of all the vehicles.

The building will also be more environmentally-friendly.

“It will be totally self-contained, there’s no environmental hazard,” Morrison said. “So when we bring in a piece of equipment there will be no debris because all of the storage parts will all be kept inside. So we’ll have a nice, clean lot with basically just employee, guest, and sales parking outside. We want to show off our trucks so we’ll put them on our front lot.”

But Greg Kirby, who’s lived on Effie Joy Road, off of Perkins, since 1964, is worried Inland Kenworth’s new home between Coulter and Perkins roads is too close for comfort.

“City hall is allowing a noisy industrial business next to a residential area,” Kirby said. “The methods used to work on that machinery are all heavy industrial, you have sledge hammering, grinding, all very annoying. It’s going to be added to the noise we’re already forced to put up with,” said Kirby, who lives near car dealerships, auto repair shops and other light industry.

He said he’s also concerned that he will be downwind from potential diesel fumes.

Ross Blackwell, the city’s land use manager, said the city is doing all that it can and Inland Kenworth’s operations conform to the subject property’s Commercial Four and Industrial One zonings.

“We cannot go around dictating what’s preferred and not preferred,” Blackwell said. “We would be sued in a second and we would lose. We cannot shut someone out of a zone with a permissible use.”

Blackwell also doesn’t perceive there to be any conflicts with Inland Kenworth and residential neighbours.

“The site is within a commercial/industrial area and is several lots removed from the nearest residential properties on Perkins Road and Effie Joy Road,” he said. “It is therefore considered that there would be no significant or direct adverse impacts to any residential properties.”

Morrison of Inland Kenworth also doesn’t foresee any trouble.

“We’ll be starting up the vehicles outside but all of the work will be done inside,” Morrison said. “It’s all being done in the building with full-size bays.”

As for Kirby’s concerns about exposure to poisonous fumes, Morrison said new vehicles sold by Kenworth run on diesel particulate filters and urea. Those two combinations allow for very few diesel emissions.

“It’s very, very clean,” he said. “It’s basically steam coming out of the pipes. Environmental studies on these things say you can breathe in the exhaust, it’s that clean. It’s not like the thick, black exhaust you used to see.”

Still, Kirby said he’d prefer to see the city develop land for industrial use in areas such as Menzies Bay, Middle Point, the airport, or even along the Inland Island Highway.

“There’s a certain morality at stake here,” he said.

Inland Kenworth’s major development permit was up for discussion and potential approval by council Tuesday night.