One Langford neighbourhood is working hard to make sure its growing pains are addressed and more services are available for children in the area.
“I find this community to be probably the best at making the community the best it can be,” said Julia Sahota, Millstream elementary principal.
A rezoning application for a commercial space in the 2200-block of Bellamy Rd. has sparked conversation around the overall safety in the area given the increased traffic and additional development in the area.
While a number of residents sent Langford council written support for an application to put a daycare and dance studio in the building currently housing the 4Cats arts studio at Bellamy Road and Treanor Avenue, a couple of residents expressed concern that there’s already too much traffic flowing through the area.
Sahota said Millstream elementary and the City of Langford are already working to address the issue.
“It’s always tricky getting 220 children in and out of an area,” she said. “We’ve been able to keep it pretty safe for the children.”
Staff and administrators at the school have worked closely with parents during the past few years to make sure they are not contributing to traffic congestion in the growing neighbourhood, Sahota noted.
On school days, at least one administrator monitors the traffic flow and makes sure parents keep moving through the area, even if that means drivers have to circle the block while waiting for their child. “Otherwise it can back up all the way down to Treanor … we always have to be hyper vigilant,” Sahota said. “The end of the day is usually a little trickier.”
Communication is key to this process, she added, and once parents understand what staff are trying to accomplish they are usually more than happy to comply. They once had a problem with parents passing school buses stopped at crosswalks, and other congestion-related worries, but Sahota said they’ve come a long way.
“It’s all about the safety of all of the kids … Parents are really respecting what we’re trying to do for the community.”
Langford staff also targeted the area for road improvements, which included traffic calming upgrades to the Treanor Avenue and Bellamy Road intersection. The City recently installed an island meant to reduce speeds in the area, as well as a solar-powered speed reader board. The crosswalks at the intersection were also improved, making them fully accessible. The old crosswalks did not have the proper letdowns for wheelchairs or strollers.
Final paving for the project will take place once the rezoning application is adopted or denied by council, as paving is dependant on whether the corner property gets rezoned and work begins on the front edge of the property.
Part of keeping traffic volumes under control at student pick-up and drop-off times has meant Millstream has also made a real push to encourage families to find more green modes of transportation.
“We always like to encourage families to walk,” Sahota said, noting about three-quarters of parents walk to and from the school with their kids. She admitted that can be a bit more challenging during bad weather.
The proposed daycare would be a welcome addition to the community, she said, as care providers would be walking distance from the school. “I think something like that would be really beneficial to the community as a whole … There’s a huge need in our community for that service.”
She also noted the proposed dance studio is another service the area is lacking. “Parents are always having to go over the highway,” she said.
With more services in North Langford for the roughly 700 children that attend Millstream and Lakewood elementaries, she noted parents wouldn’t have to travel out of the area.