K'reen Kerr

K'reen Kerr

Rutherford school parents simulate traffic impact at Frank J. Ney Elementary School

NANAIMO – With Rutherford Elementary under consideration for closure, advocates simulated an increase in traffic at an alternate school.

With Rutherford Elementary among Nanaimo district schools under consideration for closure, school advocates staged a simulation to demonstrate traffic impact Thursday.

Under a school district proposal, Rutherford would close July 2017 and Frank J. Ney Elementary expanded to accommodate students. Operation Hammond Bay Highway saw parents from the Rutherford Open and Thriving group driving to Frank Ney to give an idea what it would be like with the increased enrolment.

The group estimated an additional 100 cars per day could be entering the Frank Ney school site if the plan is implemented.

“It’s been proposed that Frank Ney school have its population doubled. The bulk of the new students would be coming from Rutherford, so we wanted to see what it would look like to transport those kids on a regular school day to the other school,” said Tina Bray, Rutherford Open and Thriving spokeswoman.

Approximately 60 drivers took part, Bray said.

According to Dale Burgos, school district spokesman, Frank J. Ney school officials said traffic wasn’t much different than usual.

“Obviously there [were] more cars that had come through Frank J. Ney parking lot, but everything went smoothly,” said Burgos. “Everybody worked together quite nicely and moved through fairly quickly.”

Consultation on school closure for Rutherford will take place on Thursday (Oct. 8) at the school and Bray said members of the group are feeling frustrated that information has been slow in coming in the first three weeks of consultation.

But Burgos said the school district has posted answers on its website to questions received between June and Sept. 15.

“[Friday we posted] questions we’ve been receiving specifically for Rutherford between Sept. 15 and Sept. 30, so we just needed a couple of days to gather all the questions and put them onto one sheet,” said Burgos.

He said information packages about schools, including Rutherford, were made available Friday at www.sd68.bc.ca.