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Aldergrove school gets traffic calming despite vote results

Last year Aldergrove Secondary
Last year Aldergrove Secondary's students petitioned local governments for installation of a marked crosswalk in front of the school on 29 Avenue.
— image credit: HARRY HUNT PHOTO

A vote on traffic calming measures for the road that runs in front of Aldergrove Community Secondary School was so close to passing that Township council decided to go ahead anyway.

A report on the mail-in vote which was carried out in November shows 65.6 per cent of the residents who responded support taking steps to slow drivers down on 29 Avenue fronting the 700-student school.

The vote was a near-miss, just short of the 67 per cent minimum required under Township regulations and that would normally mean Township staff automatically move on to the next highest priority location.

But council decided the work on 29 Avenue will proceed, after mayor Jack Froese suggested they should make an exception to the rule in the name of student safety, calling it "a larger community good that council needs to address."

Councillor Charlie Fox, who was principal of the school for about six years, needed no convincing.

Fox made the proposal to waive the minimum majority requirement, saying at the very least, "one or two speed bumps" should be installed to deter drivers from speeding.

"We had a student hit on 29th Avenue," Fox said.

"There have been accidents through the course of years [because] people don't respect the school zone in that area, they just don't."

Councillor Bob Long suggested waiting until after some already-approved crosswalk improvements were made at the school this year.

"Lets see what happens," Long said.

Councillor Kim Richter agreed with Long, saying she was concerned that only 19 per cent of the area residents surveyed actually voted, 259 of 1,342 people.

"We're making a decision to spend money on the say-so of a small group of people," Richter said, adding "we can come back to this next year."

Councillor Bev Dornan said a low response rate is not unusual for that kind of survey and the project should go forward rather than canceling it based on a difference of one or two votes.

The Fox proposal to waive the 67 per cent approval requirement and have the work go ahead passed by a six-to-three vote at the Feb. 3 afternoon meeting of council.

The work, which will be cost-shared by the Township and School District, will be done this summer and will involve reconfiguration of the high school's parking lot and realignment of the road accesses to the school.

PHOTO and STORY by DAN FERGUSON

Township councillor Charlie Fox says a near-miss on a survey that almost approved traffic calming outside Aldergrove Community Secondary School should still count for something. Fox, who used to be principal of the school, argues some measures should be put in place to prevent speeding.

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