Parents want protection for bussed kids

Chilliwack River Valley residents want their children protected from flying rocks when waiting for the school bus.

Students board a bus on Chilliwack Lake Road where there are no bus shelters.

Students board a bus on Chilliwack Lake Road where there are no bus shelters.

Chilliwack River Valley residents want their children protected from flying rocks when waiting for the school bus.

But no one seems to know whose responsibility it is to build bus shelters.

School trustee John Henry Harter presented a motion at Tuesday night’s board meeting asking district officials to look into the viability of building bus shelters.

The Chilliwack River Valley has 119 kids bused to and from school and 27 bus stops. Most are unprotected standing “within a foot” of the road.

With the new gravel pit and increased truck traffic, residents are fearing for their children’s safety.

“There’s considerable danger of debris and rocks coming off the trucks,” said Glen Thompson of Friends of the Chilliwack River Valley. “And in the winter, it’s pitch black. They wouldn’t even have a chance to see the thing coming.”

However, at the school board meeting, some trustees didn’t feel it was the school district’s responsibility.

“I have difficulty supporting this [motion] in terms of taking up staff time,” said trustee Silvia Dyck. “I am concerned with the issue of funding bus shelters for one specific area when we are currently asking parents to pay for their children’s busing.

“By all means lets talk to the [regional district] about it if students are in distress … but I am not interested in funding bus shelters at this time,” said Dyck.

But David Lamson, electoral area director, believes bus shelters to be the school district’s responsibility.

In electoral areas, the regional district can only provide a service with taxpayer approval and taxpayer dollars.

“If a group of parents want that service, they could certainly approach us,” said Lamson. “But I’m not sure the regional district would be the one to take that on. They could do that through the school board I would think.”

Thompson is frustrated with the back and forth and nothing getting done.

“One day I’m going to hear one of these kids getting hit in the head by a rock and the other kids screaming,” said Thompson, who doesn’t have children, but whose house is near one of the bus stops.

“Where are these school board and regional district people? They should be doing something.”

Thompson suggested officials lobby the mining company to help pay for the bus shelters, or request the mines open an hour later after the school kids have already been picked up.

The school district is looking into its options.

kbartel@theprogress.com