Students push for improvement on Edward Milne Road

EMCS group say sidewalks, better crosswalks would improve safety

EMCS students are lobbying the District of Sooke  for a sidewalk on Edward Milne Road for their classmates that connects the school to Sooke River Store.

Nick Gakena and Jordan Shutt with Edward Milne Community School’s Youth for Change group say the roadway also needs a new crosswalk as well, since the current one near the store is both faded and not reflective at night.

“Students aren’t going to walk up to the other side and then walk down to cross. You have to make it as easily accessible as possible,” Gakena said.

The idea to improve students’ safety along that corridor isn’t new, but it did become the forefront of concerns for teachers and parents, after a driver lost control of her car and collided with two students on Edward Milne Road last month.

The accident renewed calls for better infrastructure, but also highlighted how well the road is used by students, said teacher Scott Rothermel.

“There are 600 students that migrate back and forth on that road every day and basically, it’s just a foot-and-a-half gravel edge,” he said.

Rothermel added even with new sidewalks and crosswalks, everyone, from drivers to students, would still need to keep an eye out.

“Will a curb stop a car completely from hitting a kid? Maybe not, but it might encourage them to be more careful,” he said.

And the initiative is thought out and organized by students, for students, which is a great way to create discussion and awareness about road safety, both for the school population and the Sooke community, noted Ebony Logins, EMCS Society community school coordinator and Sooke councillor.

“With the [Youth for Change] group bringing this forward and being entirely engaged in the entire process, that itself will be a good promotion [of road safety] just by the word of mouth through the students in the school,” she said.