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City of Powell River planner highlights funding for road safety around schools

Council will consider allocating money to projects at Henderson and Edgehill elementary schools
SAFER COMMUNITY: City of Powell River sustainability planner Ana Lukyanova outlined two grants that the city has received for improvements at intersections and roads near two local schools.

City of Powell River council will consider approving $41,500 in grant funding from two sources for road projects at Henderson and Edgehill elementary schools.

At the June 14 committee of the whole meeting, councillors received a presentation from city sustainability planner Ana Lukyanova regarding receipt of $30,000 from the BC Vision Zero in Road Safety Program grant funding, as well as $11,500 funding from the ICBC road safety improvement program. According to Lukyanova, the projects would include traffic calming, an all-way stop control and painted crosswalk at Henderson, and rapid rectangular flashing beacons at the Manson Avenue crosswalk near Edgehill.

“My report to you today is a bit of a catch-up to get your support and approval to receive grants we have already been approved for,” said Lukyanova.

She said she worked closely with social planner Meriko Kubota in engaging the principals and getting to know what their safety concerns are around the schools.

“This work is amazing and absolutely necessary to keep our community safer, especially for the kids around the schools,” said city councillor CaroleAnn Leishman. “I know it is interesting that the ministry of transportation said no to doing one of these flashing beacons near Brooks Secondary School. Both Townsite ratepayers groups have complained about the safety issues around Brooks on Marine Avenue.”

She said the ministry adopted the vision zero program that helped fund the two projects in Powell River, and have put out new active transportation guidelines, then said it’s not warranted by Brooks school. She suggested writing a letter, maybe to the minister, for clarity on which direction they are going.

“It’s really unfortunate, because Brooks school is a big one,” added Leishman.

Councillor Maggie Hathaway said because Brooks is on the highway, the ministry is reluctant to put anything there.

“How many years did we fight for the crosswalk at Willingdon Beach?” asked Hathaway. “It’s all the more ammunition for the highway to be moved. We need to approach it again, that the highway is in the wrong place and it should be moved. We can’t keep kids safe because the ministry doesn’t want to put signage on the highway. It makes no sense.”

Mayor Dave Formosa said he thinks the city should send a letter and point out the contradiction, and that the city is concerned about the safety of students.

Councillors want more crosswalks

Committee chair Cindy Elliott said if there is going to be a letter, she believes there should also be a crosswalk at James Thomson Elementary School in Wildwood.

Councillor George Doubt said Lukyanova’s presentation was a good idea, outlining the application for grant money to keep kids safe.

“We should put up a sign at the entrance to the city saying welcome to Powell River, it’s a beautiful place, you can’t go very far, so why don’t you slow down and enjoy life and give the kids a break,” said Doubt. “I’m glad to see these ones happening and I think there’s lots more places where we need them.

“I know there was a communication that came to council a short time ago, where people were asking for a protected crosswalk at Alberni Street and Fernwood Avenue. What do I see in the paper, in the police report, but an accident at Alberni and Fernwood where a young student going to school at Edgehill was hit by a car while they were on their bicycle.”

Doubt said writing a letter to the highways ministry is a great idea. He suggested including all the places where crosswalks are needed.

Councillors gave unanimous consent to send the matter of the grants to city council for approval.

Hathaway also made a motion that a letter from the mayor, on behalf of council, be sent to the ministry of transportation and infrastructure regarding road safety concerns along the highway in the city. The motion carried unanimously.