Two sisters who attend Oceanside Elementary School have nearly been hit three times over the past two weeks while crossing the Island Highway at Wright Road, said their mother Tammy Milne.
“It’s essentially children crossing a freeway,” said the French Creek resident. The girls, one in Grade 3 and the other in Grade 5, were nearly hit once by someone talking on a cell phone and twice by people not using the yield lane to turn right. There is no crossing guard at the intersection.
“All those are driver errors,” School District assistant superintendent Gillian Wilson said last week of the incidents. However, she also said the school board has identified OES as having issues with traffic.
At the Nov. 25 school board meeting Superintendent Rollie Koop said he and Secretary Treasurer Erica Bailey reviewed those issues with the RCMP, RDN and Ministry of Transportation. So far, he said the school board was working with the RDN on safe walk routes and that the new subdivision across from the school will create “a number of other corridors of access and drop off points” once opened.
The intersection in question is under the jurisdiction of Ministry of Transportation, not the school board or the RDN.
RDN chair and French Creek resident Joe Stanhope said he has already written a letter to the ministry explaining the issues around Wembley Road.
Milne also said she has spoken with the police regarding the incidents.RCMP Cpl. Jesse Foreman, who did not know the specifics of Milne’s complaint, said a Municipal Traffic Officer’s job is to look into reccurring traffic complaints. He was not able to provide any specifics about this file.
The issue is on the agenda for tonight’s OES Parent Advisory Committee meeting. It was added by Milne, a member of the PAC. In particular, she said she’s looking for parent volunteers to “be that set of eyes” and help kids cross the intersection. “We need to be proactive,” she said.
This comes after Koop said at the school board meeting on Nov. 25 that they “bypassed” the idea of having school patrols by older students and parents, saying it’s an “antiquated” option. “Neither parents nor students have any authority to control traffic,” he said. “Putting folks out there … it’s putting them in harm’s way.”
For the time being, Milne said she had changed her work schedule so her girls cross the intersection fewer times each week.