A couple times a day, traffic gets a little haphazard around Mount Baker Secondary School as students stream into the building while crossing the street from the Safeway parking lot.
With student safety in mind, the Southeast Kootenay Board of Education (SD5) is writing a letter to the City of Cranbrook to request a flashing pedestrian light, similar to the one at the intersection of Victoria Ave. and 4th St.
“We’re concerned about student safety, that’s our main concern,” said Frank Lento, the SD5 board chairperson. “We need a joint partnership in getting that matter resolved.”
After many years of safety concerns, a crosswalk with raised flashing lights was installed at the Victoria Ave intersection in an effort to cut down on pedestrian accidents.
In order for the SD5 Board to move forward, there will have to be joint meetings with the city to explore what options are available. At the last board meeting on Jan. 13, trustees were nominated to serve on various municipal committees.
“We haven’t had a joint meeting with them [the city], that could be a step—they have various committees that they’ve just requested representation and we’ve nominated some trustees to various committees,” said Lento.
“…So we’re just waiting to see what the response would be. It’s a concern for us. We know our secondary students, but nevertheless, if there were flashing lights, at least it’s a step in the right direction. It would help.”
Once the SD5 trustees can meet with their municipal counterparts, that’s when the real discussions can begin on how to address traffic safety at the Mount Baker crosswalk.
“Those Cranbrook trustees would be taking that matter ahead and if we can get to a meeting to see what it’s going to cost,” continued Lento. “I know it’s bottom-line all the time. What’s the cost? What’s it going to cost? But lets see what it’s going to be.”
At the same SD5 meeting, the board also passed a motion to approve an increase in International Student Fees to $21,850.
Lento said the increase was pretty minimal and in line with what other school districts across the province have done.
“We review those annually and it’s not that significant, it’s just a few hundred bucks. It’s just to be consistent with other districts our size,” said Lento.
“We want to ensure that we’re not subsidizing international students, the taxpayers are not subsidizing international students. In this regard, their fees, they make a contribution to our schools and to our students.”