Safety is everyone’s priority

Resident responds to a column written by Richard Rolke

In response to “D is for downloading” by Richard Rolke, while I appreciate your concern for the safety of children, I feel to simply write your MLA about district budget cuts, although a worthy endeavour, is not addressing the entire picture.

The cancelling of school busing has highlighted an enduring issue. The 2.4-kilometre area surrounding elementary schools has inadequate pedestrian paths.

In the case of the south Aberdeen Road community, a mere one kilometre away from Coldstream Elementary, there is no sidewalk. It takes 15 minutes to walk to school if you dare.

Maybe, if the school district had not paid to bus children to school for as a long as I can remember, municipalities would not have gotten so lax in protecting our smallest pedestrians.

Imagine if the amount of money school districts spent on busing kids from a radius of 2.4 kilometres around schools in the last 40-plus years was dedicated to pedestrian safety on roads? School children would not be the only demographic who would benefit.

I don’t think it is a case of downloading, more like the school board has haphazardly said, “Tag, municipalities, you’re it.”

We have gone from children walking a short distance, to children busing a short distance, to parents driving their kids a short distance.

This is not progress.

In the day and age when our governments push catch phrases like environmental responsibility and healthy communities, you would think safe pedestrian pathways, especially around elementary schools,  would be a major priority.

As for Aberdeen Road, as you know, it has needed a safety overhaul for years.

I am sure all who were present at our meetings with council can attest, we have not been demanding safety with pounding fists or snarls.

However, we are passionate and determined because the most vulnerable residents of our community are at risk.

When user-pay school busing takes effect and the financial burden is shifted to parents, as I think it will, we will still be passionately asking for municipalities to step up. It is common sense that the children who live within walking distance from schools are provided a safe place to walk.

The safety of our children needs to be everyone’s priority and all levels of government need to be reminded of its responsibility.

Cheryl Dowler



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