École North Oyster. (Black Press file)

École North Oyster. (Black Press file)

With more student drop-offs during pandemic, SD68 examines safety outside North Oyster school

Fewer school bus trips and more cars accentuating traffic concerns, say school district staff

With more students getting car rides to school instead of school bus trips during the pandemic, Nanaimo-Ladysmith school trustees are looking to improve safety in and around École North Oyster.

According to a business committee staff report, the school on Cedar Road has seen increased enrolment and with parents adjusting how children commute to school due to the pandemic, it has accentuated traffic issues, with “congestion” at the shoulders of the road and more students having to cross the road to get to school.

Staff have been taking part in a “travel action plan working group” with the RCMP, Cowichan Valley Regional District, B.C.’s transportation ministry and ICBC. Trustees defeated a motion at their Nov. 25 board meeting, seeking to write the CVRD and ministry, asking for money for a crossing guard for before and after school.

Stephanie Higginson, trustee responsible for École North Oyster, said she sought more comprehensive safety measures.

“I believe that there is little chance of success for this request, but also because I believe that there is a lot more that needs to be done at North Oyster long-term,” Higginson said at the board meeting. “I believe we would have better chances of success at achieving the long-term infrastructure changes that are actually part of the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and the CVRD’s joint responsibilities … We should wait to make one thoughtful submission, rather than a bunch of small little submissions that may impact our ability to have success with the longer submissions, that we can deal with in the long-range facilities plan.”

Along with Higginson, Greg Keller, Bill Robinson, Jessica Stanley and Lisa Marie Barron voted against the motion.

Staff are expected to prepare a report with costing on a temporary crossing guard at the school for the district’s business committee meeting in December. It would include information on using student volunteers.

READ ALSO: Gabriola students to be bused to and from Nanaimo


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