After decades of advocacy by Royston parents, a new initiative that would improve safety and active transportation in the vicinity of Royston Elementary School is one step closer to reality.
The project, spearheaded by the Comox Valley Regional District in collaboration with School District 71 and the Ministry of Transportation, would see new infrastructure built to protect children from traffic near the school.
In 2022, a delegation of Royston parents led by resident Jasmin Tufnail came to present to the CVRD on the issue. The CVRD Active Transportation plan also identified the project as a top priority.
CVRD Area A Director Daniel Arbour has been a vocal proponent for the project
“In the rural areas, roads are owned and managed by the province, so this project will require a tight collaboration between the CVRD and the Ministry of Transportation,” he said.
The project would create 375 metres of protected pathway along the roadsides, as well as new safe crossings across Royston Road.
Chelsea McCannel-Keene, School Trustee for Area A, sees the project as a high priority.
“Parents hesitate to send their kids walking or biking to Royston school because all the infrastructure near the school was designed for cars, and the shoulders are dangerous,” she said.
Arbour and McCannel-Keene envision this project as a first step to eventually improve walking and cycling amenities towards Marine Drive, and along the E&N rail line towards Union Bay and Courtenay.
At the CVRD Electoral Areas Services Committee meeting on Oct. 16, a $300,000 financial commitment by the CVRD was secured for the project, and a grant application to the province for a similar amount will be submitted this month. Arbour is hopeful that should the grant application to the province be successful, the project could be implemented as early as 2024.