The beginning of the school zone along Selkirk Road in Whitehorse on Dec. 5. Some parents concerned with the lack of street lighting and sidewalks spoke to city council about it on Dec. 2. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)

‘It is bloody dangerous’: road safety concerns near Selkirk school raised by parents

The school council is urging the city to fix problems

No sidewalks, bike paths and a lack of lighting around Selkirk Elementary School are causing a stir for some concerned about student safety.

Whitehorse city council heard from delegates on Dec. 2 about these issues. Melanie Davignon, the chair of the school council, was there.

“You have kids sometimes with parents, sometimes without parents on bikes walking on the road that wasn’t made for that,” she told the News. “In the winter, it’s more danger because of the snow and the ice.”

There’s lighting on Selkirk Street but it’s not great, particularly in the wintertime, Davignon said.

There’s a section of the road where there’s no light whatsoever until you hit the schoolyard, she said.

“It is bloody dangerous.”

Problems have been there for about one year, said Davignon, adding that the city has been alerted to the problems “numerous times.”

The school started offering French immersion roughly five years ago, she said. There are more students now, and if a new parking lot is built in the future, the problems will go from bad to worse, Davignon continued.

“I’m hoping that the city is looking into it,” she said, adding that she hopes the city is working with other levels of government too, as there is also Yukon government and First Nations land in the area.

“I hope that we can get everybody together and work together to come up with a solution. Some of the solutions are really easy in my world. Some of the solutions are not. I hope we can be proactive and not reactive.”

Mike Gau, the city’s director of development services, told council that he would bring these problems up with the Yukon Department of Education in order “to keep working on them.”

“I know there’s ongoing dialogue now,” he said. “Things are evolving.

A new transportation plan is being worked out. Gau said these issues will be addressed in it.

“As for immediate, we will also look at it from that perspective. Of course, there won’t be any construction any time soon, but there may be something we could do, so we’ll work on that ourselves and get back to the school board.”

Coun. Laura Cabott asked when problems would be addressed.

Gau said there’s no timeframe.

“It’s all brand new input,” he said. “We’ll go back, as described, and return our responses.”

City spokesperson Myles Dolphin said school zone signage has been assessed in order to see it consistent with others across Whitehorse. Unauthorized shortcuts drivers are resorting to are also being reviewed.

“We also checked and all lighting currently permanently installed on the City’s road is working,” Dolphin said in a written statement. “It will also go to the Street Sign and Traffic Committee for review at the next meeting in the new year.”

Contact Julien Gignac at julien.gignac@yukon-news.com

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