A busy hub of industrial, emergency and school activity has Lavington residents demanding safety improvements for their children. Particularly with the upcoming move of a pellet plant into the area.
The Lavington town centre, as resident Sheila Sacht refers to it, is on School Road and includes Lavington Elementary, Jeffers Park and Lavington Centennial Park. While families and school children frequent the area, it also includes large truck traffic from the Lavington Fire Department, rail traffic and predominantly the Tolko mill. The congestion will only be heightened with the Pinnacle pellet plant.
“There’s no turning room there, no crosswalks or sidewalks,” said Sacht of the school zone/industrial area.
“Now take a look at the Coldstream town centre and what it looks like. We are a lot different.
“We need to increase the infrastructure for safety.”
School Road resident Jason Hoffman can attest to the dangerous situation created as large industrial trucks attempt to turn out of the narrow Tolko driveway.
“Many times I’ve had to back pedal as the trailers have almost run me over,” said Hoffman, who suggests that driveway be used as an entrance only. “Specifically in the winter time when there’s snow.”
Sacht also points to the lack of a crosswalk on School Road at the intersection of Highway 6.
“You hope for the best to get across there,” she said of the route which many school children have to take.
Although the school has been at its location since 1892 (the Tolko planer mill opened in 1956), nothing has been done to improve the situation.
“All this change has happened but there’s no change that has happened to increase safety for school children,” said Sacht.
While safety is a prime concern, beautifacation and buffering is another.
“We have mud, potsholes, standing water, and it’s been this way for many years.
“This does not say ‘Welcome’ to me.”
With Pinnacle’s pellet plant moving in, Sacht hopes it might add to some of the area improvements.
There’s also a lack of trees around the school.
“We have no buffering whatsoever for the children playing in this playground.”
Some trees were recently removed, but Garlick said they are being replaced.
Coun. Gyula Kiss admits the situation in the area is not ideal.
“It’s unfortunate that we’ve had the original exposure of the industrial area so close to the school.”
Sacht also highlighted concerns about evacuation procedures, following the gas leak in November which forced evacuation in the Lavington town centre area.
District of Coldstream staff will be investigating what evacuation plans there are, and will also be looking into establishing an anti-idling bylaw.