Point me to the next street hockey game

I am one of those “unleashed” kids that is lying in the middle of the road so another can trace my outline

Re: the “Keep kids off the roads in the parks” letter to the editor.

Yippee! Where and when is the next road hockey game?

I am one of those “unleashed” kids that is lying in the middle of the road so another can trace my outline. I just happen to be 44 and the other kid is my eight-year-old. Funny enough, the day your letter “keep the kids of the roads and in the parks” was published, there was a huge neighbourhood hockey game on Thulin.

I have two responses to your letter. We live in a society where childhood obesity is on the rise. Too much media and not enough play. The average child watches 38 hours of TV a week. Research shows that if current trends continue, by 2040, up to 70 per cent of adults aged 40 years will be either overweight or obese.

Outdoor play creates a healthy life style physically, emotionally, and cognitively. Promotes imagination, problem solving, creativity, independence, social skills, friendships and self worth. Great reasons for more families to get outside and play.

As a family we play in our neighbourhood and we make use of the parks in Campbell River. If we restricted outdoor play to the parks children would have less of a chance to spread their wings.

My boys are out playing road hockey on a daily basis. Just like every family, life is busy. So when I am getting dinner on the table or the five minutes before we have to leave for school, they are out there exercising their rights to a healthy life style and their  use of Campbell River infrastructure. Which leads me into my next opinion…..

I pay taxes too. And those taxes pay for all the infrastructure in Campbell River. Everyone, no matter their mode of transportation, has the right to be on any street in Campbell River. Vehicle, bike, or pedestrian, roads are a shared space.

Yes, as users we ALL have to be respectful of the other users of this space. This is why I chose to live in the neighbourhood that I do. I don’t live on Alder, but rather a residential road where my children can bike, pogo stick, draw and play road hockey. I give much thanks for my neighbours who are out there encouraging the fun.

I have spent many hours on the roads with my kids, holding a hockey stick or commuting on bikes. I always reinforce the importance of street smarts and to show respect for all the users of this shared space. When commuting by foot or bike we choose our routes wisely to avoid the high density traffic areas. And will they make mistakes? Yes, and so will I and so will you.

This is why it is so critical that we have mutual respect. To make this shared space safe for all. So when that adult runs the stop light in their car, or does not see that person on the cross walk, or when the child runs out after their ball, someone stays aware to avoid a tragedy.

I believe that Campbell River should lower the speed limits in the quieter residential areas. Fifty kms is too fast. Research shows that a child hit at 30 km/h has a 90 per cent chance of surviving and if hit at 50 km/h a child has an 80 per cent chance of being killed.

Decreasing the speed limit to 30 km in residential areas only adds approximately 30 seconds to a one kilometre drive. Victoria and Rossland have begun to reduce the speed limits in their residential areas. It encourages safe and livable neighbourhoods. Campbell River should take the initiative to do the same.

Albeit there are risks, I refuse to helicopter my kids into a life of obesity, isolation and health issues. They are out there playing, staying healthy and meeting their neighbours of all ages and walks of life. I am grateful that I live in a community that is striving for safe use of its shared spaces by all. Promoting a healthy lifestyle and a vibrant place to live, work and play.

The School District is working on a Campbell River Children’s Charter of Rights with local students. The right to safe road play obviously needs to be included. Unfortunately, we have a few who do not respect a child’s right to part of the community.

So please share the neighbourhood. We all have the right to be there.

I encourage everyone to slow down, turn off the media, put on your walking shoes and get out there to meet others in your community.

You just mind find yourself grabbing that chalk or hockey stick and joining in on the fun.

Shauna Schmitke

Campbell River