Nanaimo trustees ask for details on transportation policy

NANAIMO – A school district transportation policy draft is expected to be adjusted before going to consultation in the new year.

Nanaimo school district trustees send a new transporation policy back to staff for more detail on school closures and boundary changes.

A draft of the policy, which hasn’t been updated since 1986, was presented at a Dec. 14 business meeting, but was referred to a Jan. 18 meeting, to allow staff time to address safety and other concerns.

Trustee Scott Kimler said more detail surrounding school closures and boundary changes was needed. When Cedar Secondary School closed in 2014, busing wasn’t provided for displaced students who chose Ladysmith Secondary and parents had to pay for a private bus.

When the high school re-opened this past September, parents in the Cinnabar Valley saw catchment changed and some wanted to continue busing to John Barsby Secondary, the former catchment school.

“I’m hoping that there is language in there that will help step forward so that it would become clear to parents, that if schools close this is what’s going to happen or if a catchment changes, this is what’s going to happen with respect to busing … it would be helpful I think to have language in there,” said Kimler.

Trustee Jamie Brennan said there weren’t any details on safety issues and that should be addressed.

“The ICBC reports on routes, in other words, the accident history should be a factor,” said Brennan. “Speed limits on the roads should be a factor. Cougar and bear sightings should be a factor – we have a family of cougars living in Departure Bay.”

According to the draft, students from kindergarten to Grade 3 will be eligible for round-trip busing to their catchment school if they reside four kilometres from the school. Students from Grades 4 to 12 will be eligible if they reside 4.8 km from their school.

When setting up bus stops, the district will take terrain, roads and population density. Students will be required to register for bus routes and will then be given a ZPass card, which will be used when boarding and exiting a bus.

The draft policy is expected to be adjusted before going to a 30-day consultation period in the new year.

To view the draft, please see the Dec. 14 business committee meeting agenda at www.sd68.bc.ca.

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