Student travel initiative has many benefits

Getting kids more active and making schools safer all part of the program

When the next school year starts so will a new-to-the-Valley Active Student Travel initiative.

Designed to increase and sustain active travel to and from school, the initiative was suggested by Trustee Sheila McDonnell, transportation committee chair, at the January Comox Valley Board of Education meeting.

Trustees voted in favour of contributing a one-time grant of $10,000 from the transportation budget, which was subject to other Valley organizations chipping in $20,000 by June 30.

During last week’s Board of Education meeting, McDonnell noted other organizations had put forward $16,000 so far, making total finances committed to the project $26,000 rather than $30,000.

Her briefing note pointed out the vast majority of the initiative costs relate to salary and benefits from hiring an active student travel co-ordinator. She suggested still going ahead with the initiative, but structuring it to cost $26,000 rather than $30,000.

The initiative will be reviewed to determine its success before any other grants from the school district are committed to it.

The Comox Valley Cycling Task Force committed $6,000 and City of Courtenay committed $5,000 this year and next year. Though the Town of Comox did not commit funds, as the matter came up too late in its budget process, it applied for a $5,000 grant from Healthy Families BC, which it is still waiting to hear back about.

McDonnell pointed out the Village of Cumberland is interested in the initiative as well and has asked for a presentation at about it at a council meeting.

The co-ordinator, who is expected to be hired by August, will work with schools and community stakeholders to identify barriers to active transportation and develop a written action plan for each participating school, as well as Best Routes to School map brochures, among other things.

McDonnell later told the Record the co-ordinator will likely work with four or five schools during the first year.

“There’s a couple schools that have real congestion issues that we want to work on, and then there’s a couple of schools that are so interested already, and showing all the signs of wanting to move forward,” she said, noting Cumberland, École Puntledge Park, Brooklyn and École Robb Road elementary schools will likely be participant schools, but plans aren’t finalized yet.

School district goals of the initiative are:

•increased student activity linked to student success;

•reduced costs for parking lots, supervision time;

•increased safety at schools, better air quality;

•school community capacity building, leading to more parent engagement;

•educational opportunities

McDonnell notes volunteer groups already do programs such as walking school buses and there’s bike rodeos at various schools thanks to the Cycling Task Force, but having a co-ordinator will  help tie things together.

“When you have a little co-ordination to help the volunteer effort it just makes such a huge difference,” said McDonnell. “I’m quite excited about it.”

 

For more information visit the Active Travel to School Comox Valley Facebook page.

 

 

Just Posted

Affordable rental housing complex opens in Courtenay

The Braidwood facility will house 34 people at risk of homelessness

Applications open for record bursary, scholarship funding at North Island College

Current and future North Island College students can now apply for scholarships… Continue reading

Second Stage Players present laughter and love in We Are Family

Get your tickets early to see the Evergreen Club’s Second Stage Players’… Continue reading

Open house opens access for those suffering from vision loss

Pat Chicquen understands how isolating losing vision can be, which is why… Continue reading

Valley SPCA overwhelmed with 45 cats taken from local property

Many of the cats have never been around humans, or have never been touched or handled.

B.C. researcher says device mimics parent’s touch to help babies cope with pain

Calmer device is a rectangular platform that replaces a mattress inside an incubator

Comox Valley Hospice Society finds new Ocean Front home

Comox Valley Hospice Society (CVHS) recently announced plans to construct a new… Continue reading

Late-season wave of the flu makes its round in B.C.

BC Centre for Disease Control reported 50 per cent jump in flu cases in first weeks of March

Tofino’s housing crisis causing some to seek shelter at the local hospital

Tofino’s housing crisis is pushing the town’s ‘hidden homeless’ population into the forefront.

Sentencing judge in Broncos crash calls for carnage on highways to end

Judge Inez Cardinal sentenced Jaskirat Singh Sidhu to eight years

2 fires in Victoria caused by cigarettes prompts warning from deputy fire chief

Two separate fires caused by cigarette butts were avoidable

Wildlife activists slam B.C. business, clubs for ‘wolf-whacking’ contests

Chilcotin Guns, Creston Valley Rod and Gun Club and West Kootenay Outdoorsmen Club under fire

‘Families torn apart:’ Truck driver in fatal Broncos crash gets 8-year sentence

Judge Inez Cardinal told court in Melfort, Sask., that Sidhu’s remorse and guilty plea were mitigating factors

Vancouver Island motorists attempted CPR on victim in fatal Highway 4 crash

Collision took place west of Whiskey Creek; man in his 70s died

Most Read