Delivering downtown more difficult than ever

A delivery courier went before North Battleford city council Monday night calling for changes to allow him to be able to do his job.

Tracy George, a courier for 28 years in the city, advocated for some sort of “delivery zone” to be set up on 11th and 12th Avenues for couriers to service downtown customers. George wants to see a dedicated delivery zone set up and council has shown interest in the idea.

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George made clear in his presentation to council and also in correspondence to City Hall that couriers are having a harder time doing their jobs safely downtown. He cited changes to parking and sidewalks, plus the stepping up of enforcement by North Battleford’s community safety officers.

“The CSOs are on us, and I get they have their job to do,” said George. “But we’re trying to do our job as well for our customers downtown so that they can get their freights in and get their stuff and get it out onto the shelves as fast as they can.”  

George acknowledged there is a 10-minute loading zone downtown by the Royal Bank, but added that it is usually taken.

“Everybody parks there,” he said.

Using back door entrances isn’t a viable alternative for couriers, George noted, as most stops along the 1100-1200 block of 101st Street do not have back alley entrances due to safety concerns. That forces the couriers onto the street, he said.

George explained he now has to double park in the street and rush through traffic to make deliveries. He said his company has indicated it will pay double-parking tickets, but he pointed to an encounter where the CSO was going to write a provincial parking ticket instead of a bylaw infraction, which would have meant points off George’s licence. Other couriers are receiving provincial tickets as well, he said.

The suggestion of setting up a “delivery zone,” as opposed to “loading zone,” was one that interested council. Mayor Ryan Bater wanted to know if other cities had such zones. Director of Planning and Development Jennifer Niesink stated their research found other cities had loading zones that could be used as delivery zones but were not courier-specific.

In other cities that don’t have delivery zones, couriers can park in a specific location and use a dolly to transport merchandise to various businesses. That is an option, Niesink indicated.

“I think we have to look at this and find a common sense solution,” said Councillor Len Taylor.  

The issue will likely come back for discussion at a future planning committee meeting.

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