This stretch of gravel property near Armstrong Elementary School

This stretch of gravel property near Armstrong Elementary School

Boulevard raises concerns

Parents at Armstrong Elementary raise questions about gravel area

A strip of gravel near an Armstrong elementary school is causing safety concerns.

The city received a letter from Armstrong Elementary School’s parent advisory council (PAC) expressing their safety concerns about a piece of gravelled boulevard area on Pleasant Valley Road near the school.

The area is reported to be used as a parking/dropping off location by parents and community members.

Speed along Pleasant Valley Road is also a safety concern.

“This strip of gravel has been in existence since the upgrade of Pleasant Valley Road back in 1995,” wrote Tim Perepolkin, the city’s public works manager, in a letter to council. “It is not posted as a designated parking or drop-off area, and the city does not plow it during the winter.”

The city believes the area in question may have been constructed this way to allow for overflow parking during events at the school, and possibly the IPE.

AES principal Denise Brown said there are only two safe places for children to be dropped off and picked up, and that gravel strip is not one of them.

“We do not support the city area, along the fence line by the teeter totter playground on Pleasant Valley Road, as a drop zone,” wrote Brown in a school newsletter.

“It is unsafe.”

Perepolkin told council he observed traffic movements at the site on a November morning, and noted people were dropping children off at the gravel portion.

“There appeared to be a good potential for incidents of some sort,” he said. “Therefore I feel the expressed safety concern is valid.”

It is assumed that the piece of property is owned by the city, and not the school board, though a formal land survey has not been conducted in some time.

Council supported a public works committee recommendation to direct staff to post No Parking and No Drop Off signage in the subject gravelled boulevard area.

Coun. Paul Britton, however, believes that’s not enough.

“There has to be a plan put forward by our trustees, take the plan to the (school) board, and to recommend that this is a safety issue and come up with a plan and come up with a capital budget,” said Britton. “To just put up signs, I’m not sure anything will actually get done.”

Kelly Rowe, who stepped down from council and successfully won a seat on the North Okanagan Shuswap School District board of trustees, will take the concerns to her new group.

“It’s a starting point,” said Rowe.

The complaint has been forwarded to Warren Smith, rural programs coordinator for the RCMP Safe Communities Unit, and the local RCMP detachment will be asked to actively set up traffic enforcement to deal with speeding and traffic safety.