Harrison Hot Springs Council voted down a staff recommendation to shorten the hours of the Village’s only school zone.
The recommendation stemmed from a Jun. 19 special council meeting where it was decided that staff would contact the school to discuss changing the hours of the school zone, currently 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., to end at 3 p.m. each school day.
Staff discussed the matter with the school’s principal, Mark Classen, and it was decided that reducing the hours would have little or no effect on the students’ safety.
Each councillor had a different take on the subject at Monday night’s council meeting.
“I personally am not in favour (of changing the hours,” Coun. Allan Jackson said. “I don’t see what the big deal is. I’m not going to compromise on children’s safety.”
However, Coun. Sonja Reyerse, a longtime member of the local school parent advisory council, said the traffic along Hot Springs Road has never been a safety concern.
Coun. John Buckley said he is in favour of keeping the school zone as is, while everyone acknowledged the many speed zones along that stretch of road.
From the entrance of the Village, drivers are traveling 80 km/hr, to 60 km/hr, then 50 km/hr, then 30 km/hr for the school, and a short stretch that returns to 50 km/hr.
“I think I have to admit that maybe something should be done,” Mayor Leo Facio said.
Facio, Buckley and Jackson opposed reducing the speed limit hours, and Reyerse and Coun. Zoltan Kiss voted in favour.
Changes are underway for Hot Springs Road this week. Road work crews are busy widening the pavement to allow for a safer biking and pedestrian shoulder on the west side of the road.
That improvement will run to the entrance of the Village, Mayor Leo Facio said in council Monday night. It would be up to the District of Kent to contact ICBC about extending the project past the Village.