Concrete barriers create temporary confusion in Walkerton school parking lot

·3 min read

BROCKTON – The sharing of facilities by the Brockton Child Care Centre and St. Teresa of Calcutta Catholic School has had many benefits for both the Bruce Grey Catholic District School Board that owns the property, and municipality. However, the parking lot has long been a sore point for everyone.

A report prepared by John Strader, acting director of operations, and presented at the Sept. 6 meeting of council focused on the parking situation – or, to be more exact, the most recent attempt to correct it.

Concrete barriers were erected to separate school and daycare traffic, and the result was a flurry of text messages from confused parents dropping off children. No signage had been erected to direct traffic in the parking lot.

Municipal staff had met with school board officials to come up with a temporary fix for the parking lot situation, and to try and identify a long-term solution. As a short-term solution, the board agreed to install temporary jersey barriers (concrete barriers) to divide the parking lot between the daycare centre and the school.

The permanent fix proposed by municipal staff was to create a second, one-way entrance to the east of the existing entrance. Parking would be added with a drop-off area for the daycare centre. Strader said in his report that the school board “will be considering this in their 2023 budget.” Further discussion will be needed between the board and municipality to determine costs needed for the project.

Coun. Steve Adams spoke of getting a text from a “bewildered parent” about where to park and how to get around – they have a pickup truck. Adams noted that SUVs have problems in the crowded parking lot, which was identified during previous discussions.

Adams forwarded the texts to the clerk’s office.

“Signage was the main thing,” he said, adding there were “very confused people … this needs to be looked at.”

Coun. Tim Elphick commented on how quickly staff came up with a temporary solution. However, it doesn’t negate the lack of signage and “absence of communication” with the families using that parking lot. He asked “if there’s a way … to have some communication and some additional signage,” particularly for those exiting the parking lot.

Elphick said he’d seen someone “turning right out of the left lane and left out of the right lane, and they almost collided.” He went on to say the barriers work, but there’s insufficient signage. He thanked Strader and staff “for the work they’ve done on this.”

Strader said staff would be meeting once again with the board and would raise these concerns. He noted “this was a temporary fix … it seemed something had to be done.”

Strader added that there seems to be a permanent solution, but it’s going to take some money. In the meantime, he asked that people “bear with the situation.” He spoke of “getting some signage up there” and communications. He recommended backing into parking spots to make exiting from them easier.

Adams noted problems with the width of the parking spots, saying no one knows who gets to open the car door first. He acknowledged “there’s a longer-term solution out there,” and in the meantime, it’s important to get some signage up.

“I think that will help a lot,” said Adams.

Strader said the width of the parking spots had been discussed with the board, and would be addressed with a long-term solution.

Elphick noted people pull into the parking spaces instead of backing in because there are children walking around – there’s no curb separating the parking lot.

“But that’s another concern,” he said.

Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times