Travel woes

Par­ents fear­ful of stu­dents’ daily trip be­tween Ox­ford and Pug­wash

The Amherst News - - FRONT PAGE -

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.”

DAVE MATHIESON – AMHERST NEWS

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.

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