EDITORIAL: District must consult public

There was proof Wednesday night that bureaucracy can shift to address concerns.

There was proof Wednesday night that bureaucracy can shift to address concerns.

After announcing earlier this year that school bus routes would be cut in Cherryville and rural Lumby, the Vernon School District restored the service completely in some cases and partially in others.

“I know it won’t address all of the concerns but it at least provides some solution,” said Sterling Olson, secretary-treasurer.

The district’s decision was greeted with enthusiasm from Cherryville resident Kara Zeolkowski.

“I live at the end of Sugar Lake Road so this is a huge relief for me,” she said of recently having to ensure her three children made the the 9.4-kilometre distance between their home and the school bus.

Driving back and forth became the reality for Zeolkowski as Sugar Lake Road has no shoulders to walk on and is busy with logging trucks — not an ideal situation for children.

But while the district’s change in policy is positive, this entire situation could have been avoided if trustees and administration had sat down first with parents and community leaders.

Had they done so, they would have learned that what works in urban areas like Vernon and most of Coldstream doesn’t necessarily translate in rural communities where there are large acreages and considerable distances.

One could make the case that rural residents shouldn’t expect the same level of service as larger centres, but these are communities that have existed for decades and buses to school have been available for years.

While praising the board Wednesday, Zeolkowski urged trustees to reach out to residents if transportation cuts arise again.

“I would have liked more communication with parents because this affects us a lot,” she said.

Hopefully the district has learned a lesson.