Flooding frequents the outside of Mill Bay Nature School. (Aaron Henry photo)

Father concerned for student safety after school-front flooding in Mill Bay

A Mill Bay father is worried about the effect a flooded schoolfront will have on the students of Mill Bay Nature School.

The rain has left a massive puddle along Cobble Hill Road in front of the school — in one spot nearly to the centre line of the roadway — forcing students, parents and others out onto the street and into oncoming traffic.

“If there are heavy rains it floods to the road, halfway into lane for sure, sometimes to the yellow line,” said Aaron Henry. “If it rains heavy, it starts backing up immediately! Then it will dissipate only if the rain stops for a period of time.”

Henry said School District 79’s response to his concerns was for him to contact the CVRD.

“The CVRD or Emcon [the provincial contractor responsible for road service and maintenance] is irrelevant as it’s about the safety of our children,” he said.

“I believe the unsafe road encourages students, parents, and elderly to walk into oncoming traffic to obtain entrance to a school site unsafely,” he said. “A child, parent or care provider should not be at risk of safe entry to a school site under any circumstances.”

Henry wonders about the hazard should the temperatures dip below freezing.

“If there was ever a hard freeze after a rain or a reckless driver who hydroplanes, possible risk could be had to our tax paying citizens for unsafe roadways,” he said.

While he noted the water eventually drains after a day or so once the rain stops, continued rain often keeps the large puddle around.

“With continued exposure to the elements or frozen ground, the water would not be able to dissipate and cause a safety issue that no one has claimed responsibility to, that I have been aware of,” he said. “Whose responsibility is it for the safety of our community?”

Not the regional district, according to spokesperson Kris Schumacher.

“Unlike municipalities, roads in electoral areas are maintained by the province, not the regional district,” Schumacher said. “I would encourage you to reach out to MOTI [Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure] on this one.”

School district spokesperson Mike Russell said the district is aware of the problem and has contacted Emcon.

An Emcon representative said the manager was out on the road and unable to respond immediately but the issue has been put in his log and he’ll have a look.



sarah.simpson@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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