Of all the correspondence received at the most recent meeting of Campbell River City Council, one package was by far the cutest.
But that didn’t make it any less important than any other.
The 22-letter package was addressed to Mayor Andy Adams from Ripple Rock Elementary Grade 4/5 teacher Jenna Wiese and her students, asking for the city to address a couple of significant concerns.
Weise says because there is no city transit route that goes by the school, each class is limited to three off-site field trips, as each class can only book three school buses per year through the school district.
“As a teacher, I believe it is important to teach students how to engage positively with the community of Campbell River,” Weise writes. “The new B.C. curriculum focuses a lot on community engagement but it is difficult to wholly attend to this part of the curriculum without the transportation support in place.”
While many of the students’ letters echoed that concern, saying things like “I don’t think it’s fair that other schools have public transit right beside their school and we don’t,” there were also some safety concerns raised.
Student Simone Bittman writes with her concern “that when we cross the road there is really only one crosswalk near the school and I get worried for other students’ safety.
A lot of people walk their dogs and I get worried about their safety, too. If you could, may you please talk with the council about this and see if they can help.”
Karis Gauthier says “I think we need more crosswalks around our school because myself and my classmates might get hit by a car and I would hate for that to happen.”
While many students identified the lack of crosswalks around the school as a problem, some also identified that if there was a sidewalk on the school side of the block, there wouldn’t need to be more crosswalks installed.
“I am writing to you with worry regarding to the cross walks around the school grounds,” writes a student identified only as Danish. “Every Wednesday morning we go on a run around the block. There is one spot where you have to go around, there’s an 87.30% chance people j-walk. I’m asking you to please take this to council and figure out a way to put sidewalks all around the block.”
Student Azoulas Pranckus echoes that sentiment, saying “some people around here don’t pay attention when they are driving. Especially when driving around one of the corners. And we have to cross that corner. And it’s especially hard for me because I’m very small. So could you please take this letter to the council and ask them to please try finding people to help build a sidewalk for us.”
Upon receipt of the letters this week, Coun. Michele Babchuk made a motion to request city staff work with the RCMP, the school district and BC Transit “to explore if there is any way to improve services for parents, students, staff and residents of the Ripple Rock Elementary area.”
That motion passed unanimously.