A sign indicating a drop-off area behind Selkirk Elementary school in Whitehorse on Feb. 25. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)

A sign indicating a drop-off area behind Selkirk Elementary school in Whitehorse on Feb. 25. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)

Parking lot proposal for Selkirk Elementary criticized

Parents and school council are raising concerns about green space and traffic woes

A proposal for a new parking lot at Selkirk Elementary School is now accepting public feedback through the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board.

The proposal is to build a new permanent staff parking lot behind the school for the Selkirk school in Riverdale. Construction would be carried out in summer and fall of 2021. In the proposed design, the end of Selkirk Street would become a one-way road into the parking lot. The design includes nine drop-off spots in the new lot.

The staff at Selkirk previously had a dedicated parking lot, but that lot is now to be used by the recently opened Paul-Émile Mercier Secondary School. The lot is still used by Selkirk parents and staff and has a dedicated drop-off area for that school, according to French school board executive director Marc Champagne.

Public comments have already been received from the school council, local First Nations, and a number of parents in addition to opposition parties.

While most comments are in favour of a change to the parking lot situation, many parents have raised concerns about additional traffic, a lack of sidewalk infrastructure and the need for more drop-off spots.

“Selkirk Street is not safe. Any weekday morning around 8:25, you can see young children walking or riding their bikes along the narrow shoulder in the dark, while being passed by cars,” commented Karen Routledge, who added she has concerns about her child biking to school based on the current conditions.

Close to 50 comments have been submitted to YESAB. The period for public feedback closed on Feb. 25.

The Selkirk Elementary School Council is concerned that the parking lot will encroach on the play area behind the school and does not incorporate enough drop-off spots. The council is also concerned about additional traffic in Riverdale if children are to be dropped off at the front of the school rather than Selkirk Street.

The council also pointed out that there is currently no trail or sidewalk down Selkirk Street.

Yukon Party MLA Scott Kent echoed concerns about school greenspace and traffic in a letter addressed to the ministers in charge of the file.

“Due to the nature of these concerns I request that you pause this project and go back to the school community as well as the residents of Riverdale to consult them on this project,” said Kent in the letter.

Correction: This article was corrected on March 1 to indicate the proposed plan has nine drop-off spaces, not two as originally reported. The News regrets the error. The story has also been updated with a comment from Paul-Émile Mercier executive director Marc Champagne.

Contact Haley Ritchie at haley.ritchie@yukon-news.com

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