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REPORTING · 31st January 2012
Walter McFarlane
Watch it on Kitimat Daily Videos: Reports and Communications.

Council received a report on the snow clearing at the Nechako Elementary School Parking Lot on January 16th. Tim Gleig, Director of Engineering addressed Council on it.

The report sympathized with the frustrated parents whose children must travel further to get to school. However, the District did not make the commitment to keep that parking lot clear during the school closure meetings as changing snow clearing in one part of town affects clearing in other parts of town. The School District also promised additional costs because of the school closure would not be borne by the municipality as Roy Wilcox was closed for financial benefit by the School District.

The report goes on to say there was a cost to the change in snow clearing, to push the snow further against the curb, but this cost was marginal. However, the District of Kitimat is the only snow clearing operation with a blower and there will be snow in the parking lot until it gets there.

“District workers were instructed to take their breaks in this parking lot and have for many years. Our equipment is large and adequate parking areas where they would not impede traffic are limited. We did not foresee this potential conflict when approving the drop off zone but have subsequently reviewed it and will try to avoid conflicts with drop off and pick up,” read the report.

The report goes on to express the near miss of the child in the parking lot was due to speeding. The speed limit is posted at 15 Kilometres per hour and parents have been driving twice that in the drop off zone.

Finally, on December 13th, there was an equipment breakdown which lead to the parking lot not being cleared on time. A second machine was brought in but when the traffic started pouring in, the machine had to stop as the potential for an accident had increased.

In Council, Gleig expressed the points of the letters were addressed in the report. Councillor Mario Feldhoff made a motion to provide the report to the people who wrote the letters and Nechako School.

Feldhoff pointed to a mechanical problem which made the situation worse. He said the situation was one off and the letter writers would be able to respond to Council after reflecting upon them.

Councillor Corrine Scott suggested forwarding this report to the School District as well as it also shows the Districts stand on school parking.

Councillor Rob Goffinet said the District is aware of what can be done to make this safer and there is a heightened awareness of what needs to be done. They have done a lot of movement to address the problems. He thought the District is doing as much as they can to make this a safe drop off area.

Gleig had a few pointers. He reminded Council the reduction in snow clearing services was an attempt to reduce costs after Eurocan closed. Clearing the parking lot to the standard is more then their direction. The closure of Roy Wilcox changed the expectations of the drop off area and these expectations were never agreed to by the municipality.

They did change the contract with the contractor to push the snow against the curb but it’s still there until a blower goes by, the District is the only one with a blower. They are going to enter Discussions with the School District and send them a copy of the report.

The motion was called and carried.