If there’s one thing any good parent does, it’s to try and protect their kids.
But there are some things we ultimately have very little control over unless we push for change.
Brian Garneau, a local father, just came face-to-face with how little power he had over his son’s safety when he got a call no parent wants to.
“I was in shock immediately, and then it was fear because I didn’t know what I was going to be coming up to,” Garneau told Comox Valley Now.
On his way to school with his older brother, his 5-year-old son had been hit by a car crossing Woods Ave.
“People come around the corner of Woods [Avenue] in between 4th and 5th [streets] at Martin Place, and they’re coming around that corner at 50 kilometres an hour. They don’t slow down for it.”
Garneau’s son luckily survived the hit, but not without serious repercussions.
He was taken by ambulance to Nanaimo General Hospital for emergency surgery with a broken femur, among other injuries.
Garneau is grateful his son is okay but worried other children might not be so lucky.
“There’s kids, there’s two schools, and it’s just a matter of time before someone’s going to get hit, and it’s going to be a much different outcome.”
Garneau feels multiple changes should be implemented in the area to help boost safety.
Drivers whipping down Woods Ave, just a side street away from Puntledge Park Elementary, is his biggest worry, and he’d like to see the whole area become a 30 kilometres per hour school zone.
A flashing crosswalk on the corner of Woods Avenue at Martin Place, where drivers could see it in both directions, is top of the list for him.
As well as creating a connected walking path on a vacant property that kids could use to stay off the roads as much as possible.
Courtenay Mayor Bob Wells told Comox Valley Now that laying out potential solutions with the school district is a great first step to creating a safer environment for all these kids.
“That is a part of that whole process of first of all identifying what are the biggest priorities, prioritizing them and then really looking to see what treatments will be able to most effectively calm that traffic,” said Wells.
Wells adds there are many different options, but they all need to be analyzed before being put in place.
“Some people would like to see roads narrower or speed bumps, but that can sometimes be a challenge, especially if it is a road that emergency service vehicles are going to be using.”
Garneau says he will be putting an online petition together to bring forward to the council and advocate for changes.
He thanked everyone for their support, and mentioned there would be a beer and a burger night fundraiser at the Whistle Stop Pub on Jan. 17th.
People can also contact council members personally through the city’s website, where more attention can be brought to staff on the issue.
Remember to talk with your kids about road safety this season, and drive safely out there.