Parents fearful of students’ daily trip between Oxford and Pugwash
Oxford parents voice concerns about students travelling to Pugwash.
Changing schools can be scary at the best of times, but that fear is magnified tenfold when an entire school population has to be transported 26 kilometres every day to a new school.
“If there is one child that gets hurt in this plan or this relocation, I am definitely holding some people accountable,” said Heather Jacklin.
Jacklin was one of about 100 parents of students at Oxford Regional Education Centre looking for answers to their many transportation questions during a recent meeting at the Oxford Legion.
The parents have been scrambling for answers to transportation logistics ever since they learned their kids will attend Cyrus Eaton Elementary and Pugwash District High School in Pugwash.
The change in schools became necessary after the masonry work at OREC was deemed too unstable for student safety. It’s unclear if repairs will take weeks, months, or years.
Parents at the meeting made it clear they have nothing against the teachers in Pugwash, or the schools.
“Pugwash is accommodating. I’m not worried about how well the teachers are going to teach the children,” said Jacklin. “I’m worried about them getting home safely.”
Almost all the parents expressed concern with their kids travelling 26 kilometres every day to Pugwash.
One parent pointed out the dangers of the Kolbec Road, a 17 kilometer stretch of road between Oxford and Port Howe, saying, “it is the most lawless road I’ve seen in Nova Scotia,’ adding that he’s been run off the road several times.
“There’s been more accidents on that road than any other back road of that distance in Nova Scotia. There’s been deaths on that road and people maimed on that road, and now they’re going to put 10 times the traffic on there.”
He hopes the RCMP patrols Kolbec Road more often to help keep it safe.
“If my kid gets hurt on that highway, I’ll sue any and everybody that I can.”
Another parent, Joe Reade, works at the Windsor Salt Mine in Pugwash. He said traffic around Pugwash can be very dangerous, especially in the winter.
“The truck traffic to that place all winter long is, basically, hellish,” said Reade. “There’s transfer trucks, plow trucks, and every other truck on the road going directly to Pugwash and through those main highways.”
He also said traffic at both schools in Pugwash can be hectic when kids are being dropped off.
“Oxford was bad enough to begin with, Pugwash was bad enough to begin with, and now we’re going to try to get into the same spot at the same time,” said Reade. “With the plow traffic and the salt truck traffic, the students driving cars, and the fact that the salt mine is right there, we’re going to have to cancel school any time there’s a flake of snow in the air.”
Shelly Mattinson was one of several Oxford parents who stood up to express their concerns about kids travelling to and from school between Oxford and Pugwash during a recent meeting at the Oxford Legion.