As Quesnel’s School District 28 prepares for the 2018/19 school year, the Board of Education last week announced changes to the district’s school bus schedule due to the relocation of Quesnel Junior School from the site in North Quesnel at Shepherd Avenue and Callanan Street to the old Maple Drive Junior School location on Mountain Ash Road in South Quesnel.
The changes also reflect the additional minutes added to each school day due to the two-week Spring Break trial, which will be tested for two years. The decision will add eight minutes to the end of each day for the 2018/19 and 2019/20 school years.
The press release says efforts have been made to limit buses travelling up and down Dragon Lake Hill, which the Board of Education believes will improve safety in winter conditions.
The document also says there will still be some stops in North Quesnel and downtown, although they will be limited.
The School District press release also hit back at City Council, after criticism of the School District arose during a June 26 council meeting.
Mayor Bob Simpson and councillors approved increased hours to Quesnel’s BC Transit schedules to aid students travelling downtown to jobs and activities after school; however, councillors and the mayor expressed frustration during the June 26 meeting that the School District hadn’t come forward with the request earlier.
“We could have done that work in February or March and had it in play instead of making the mad dash at the 11th hour to try to get something in place for September,” said Mayor Simpson in June.
The changes to BC Transit’s schedule will incur a cost of $16,000 a year, which is shared by the city and BC Transit. For this year, the total cost to the city will be around $2,500, as the additional hours will not be added until September.
The School District press release says the Board of Education wants to clarify “misinformation” shared at the June 26 meeting.
“The District suggested to City staff that aligning public transit would continue to be a supportive arrangement. At no time was there a formal request from the Board of Education to City Council for public transit changes. Furthermore, there was no expectation that the suggestion be implemented if additional costs or burden to the City resulted,” the news release states.
It goes on to say the District contacted staff in April – which it says would allow adequate time to implement changes – to discuss how the relocation and two-week Spring Break would impact public transit.
The District news release goes on to say that it will still serve downtown and the Quesnel and District Arts and Recreation Centre by school bus, but it might have trouble accommodating short-term riders in larger than expected numbers.
“An aligned public transit option would serve these needs,” the release states.
The School District’s new bus schedule for the 2018/19 school year can be found here.
The move to the new Quesnel Junior School site on Mountain Ash Road began at the end of June, with staff moving classroom materials and maintenance continuing on the school. The site will be ready for students come September 2018.