School District 27 trustees and staff were on hand at Cataline Elementary School Tuesday evening to listen to any concerns and answer questions around the district’s proposal to add a bus loop on the property. The design is intended to improve student safety but will increase traffic on 11th Ave. Angie Mindus photo

School district proposes changes to Cataline elementary

Public encouraged to take part in consultation

School District 27 board trustees and staff unveiled a new bus loop and traffic flow proposal Tuesday evening for Cataline Elementary School in Williams Lake.

If approved the plan will see the district use an access point off of 11th Ave. for school buses which will then travel into the school grounds (behind fencing) and exit on Blair Street.

The plan calls for the removal of an estimated 20 to 30 trees, as well as the existing school garden and basketball court to make way for the project.

It is the second bus loop proposal designed for the school in as many years. Last year, parents and residents opposed a plan which would have seen up to 90 trees removed in the forested play area behind the school.

“This is better than I thought but I’m still concerned,” said 11th Ave. home owner Tina Benedet who attended the meeting held in the school’s gym.

“I’m worried about the increased traffic. That’s why we wanted to come and see for ourselves.”

More than 30 residents turned out to review the proposal and fill out surveys, a good sign according to trustee Brice O’Neill.

“I’m impressed with how many people are here,” he said, adding he was there to listen to residents. “I want to know what the people want and what they think.”

Area residents who attended the meeting all seemed to agree something has to be done to improve the safety for students during drop-off and pick-up hours at the busy school, however, not everyone thought the latest proposal is the best solution.

“I’m all for the safety of the kids but I also think there are better and cheaper ways to do it,” said area resident Lorne Marshall, suggesting SD 27 approach their neighbour, Thompson Rivers University, to use a vacant lot at the corner of Western Ave. and Blair Street to improve traffic flow and create a bus loop.

SD 27 secretary treasurer Kevin Futcher said they are welcoming feedback such as Marshall’s to help make the right decision.

“That’s what this is for,” he said. “We want the best possible option.”

The next public consultation for the proposal will be Tuesday, Nov. 7 at Cataline Elementary School between 6:30 and 8:30 p.m.

Stakeholders are encouraged to complete a public input survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/JXLLH26.

More detailed information regarding the proposal, including maps, can be viewed at http://www.sd27.bc.ca/.

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