Board backs decision to not build bus shelters

Bus shelters will not be built on Chilliwack Lake Road.

School trustees agreed with staff recommendations not to build bus shelters at this time.

However some parents are angry they had no say in the decision.

Bus shelters will not be built on Chilliwack Lake Road.

School trustees agreed with staff recommendations not to build bus shelters at this time.

However some parents are angry they had no say in the decision.

“Parents should have been given a choice,” said Suzanne Tyrell, whose 14-year-old daughter gets bused to and from Chilliwack Lake Road.

“We pay $200 to get our kids on the buses, they should be safe.”

The Chilliwack River Valley has 119 kids bused to and from school and 27 bus stops; 17 located on Chilliwack Lake Road.

Most are unprotected.

With a new gravel pit opening up and the speed limit on the road 80 km/h, parents are fearing for their children’s safety.

“Can you imagine if a rock hit them? Can you imagine how vulnerable their heads are?” asked Tyrell.

School district staff were directed by the board of education in January to research the viability of bus shelters on Chilliwack Lake Road. In a report presented to the board on Tuesday, staff looked at condensing the 17 bus stops in the area into three to accommodate 40 students. But it was decided that because several of the bus stops were situated at the ends of driveways, it would be safer to keep kids closer to home than have them walk down the busy road to a bus shelter.

Parents were not contacted for input.

Trustee Silvia Dyck, who was initially concerned with funding bus shelters for one specific area, was satisfied with the staff report.

“From a parental perspective, I would rather my child wait at the end of my driveway than have to walk to the school bus,” said Dyck.

Not all stops, however, are located at the ends of driveways.

Tyrell’s daughter and approximately 10 other kids are picked up at the entrance of Baker Trail Village, a 159-unit mobile home park. There is no driveway for them to wait on, and there is limited visibility in the location.

“The shoulder is not wide enough for these kids,” said Tyrell. “They can’t back away from the road, they’d be backing right into the middle of another road.

“I cannot believe the naivete and carelessness of the school board not willing to protect these kids.”

The board will be writing to the Ministry of Highways expressing concerns with the change in the type of traffic, the current speed limit and signage on Chilliwack Lake Road. Letters will also be written to the gravel truck companies notifying them as to when students are picked up and dropped off. And parents will be advised to keep their children at a safe distance in their driveway until the school bus arrives.