One day, the congestion currently experienced at the beginning and end of the school day at Poirier elementary and Journey middle school will be significantly decreased with the construction of a new exit point from Poirer elementary into Woodland Creek. Construction undertaken by School District 62 will be completed August 26.
The construction by the other party, the developers of Woodland Creek, will not be completed until the end of October, according to Blair Robertson, the owner of Totangi Properties. Totangi Properties is responsible for the development at Woodland Creek, including the construction of the road up to the Poirier property line.
But before things get better, there will be the old, familiar congestion at the Throup entrance to the school, and an additional jaunt for those accessing Poirier from Arranwood Drive. Meaning that for a couple of months, it might take a turn for the worse.
The modification to the flow of traffic was instigated by the access to the sewage line in Sooke.
Peter Godau, Director of Facilities at School District 62 explained that as a part of a compliance order with the District of Sooke, once the sewer was available, the schools would be hooked up. Currently, there is a large treatment plant that serves both Poirier elementary and Journey middle school.
According to Godau, the project to connect the sewer to the district will be done over a two year window. In the first year (this year), the sewer would be built in up to the end of the property line, which would then be hooked up by the developer once they run their sewer to the end of their property line.
“What we decided to do was to run the line, the sewer line, this year, and at the same time work on some of the parking and traffic concerns we have and the school has around Poirier. Even at the start when Poirier was built it was always considered that there would be a through-road or something to that other development, when it was available. So we took the opportunity and had an engineer design the sewer hookup so our line is run right to the border. When they bring the line down they can hook up to it and then in the following years we’ll decommission the sewer plant and hook up to the system.”
This sewer work at both schools will be done during the summer months in 2014.
“We are trying to add some parking,” said Godau, “create some flow-through.”
School congestion is an issue, Godau admits, and until parents stop driving their kids to school it will continue to be congested. Poirier, as a French-immersion school, has the additional challenge of servicing well beyond its catchment, which includes families that do not have school bus services and require vehicle access. This adds to the traffic congestion at Poirier.
The long term plan, according to Godau, is to have the new road out be a one-way exit, going into Woodland Creek community; the existing road in will continue to be two-ways.
Developer Blair Robertson adds that access to Poirier will continue to be gate-controlled. Gate access via Arranwood Drive will function the same as it currently does at the Throup Road entrance, with vehicle access only available during school hours. In other words, the modification will not be a new through road but rather an extension of exit alternatives for vehicles accessing (mostly) Poirier elementary.
Godau assured the Sooke News Mirror that the access path to Poirier, up the embankment beside what was the gravel road through Arranwood Drive to Poirier, will be clear and continue to provide safe access to the school. Robertson confirmed the path will be kept clear and safe.
So… one day in September or October of this year, the load will lighten. To get there, anyone requiring access to Poirier will have to put up with construction. Where possible, have children attending Journey and Poirier take the school bus. Where not, if Arranwood Drive is your preferred access point to Poirier, drive with extra care through the residential community of Woodland Creek.