District of Hope bylaw enforcement officer

Kids safety at risk, says mom

Almost hitting two young kids, who darted out from a car parked right in a crosswalk, was just too much for a local mom to bear.

  • Feb. 2, 2011 11:00 a.m.

Almost hitting two young kids, who darted out from a car parked right in a crosswalk, was just too much for a local mom to bear.

Just hours after that experience, Tessa Hahn-Poole set off on a mission to improve child safety at Coquihalla Elementary School – a mission she says only necessary because parents ignore newsletter safety reminders sent home from the school.

Tessa’s facebook campaign garnered lots of support from her friends who also recognize that there was a problem with parents dropping off and picking up their children within no-parking zones.

The same day Tessa moved up the ladder in her lobbying efforts in contacting the RCMP and the Fraser Cascade School district to see what action could be taken.

Within 24 hours her efforts were rewarded with the arrival at the school of Hope’s bylaw enforcement officer, Jim Griffiths, just in time for the dismissal bell last Thursday.

But even with his massive white bylaw enforcement truck, its bright light bar blazing, parked right in the middle of the yellow-lined no-go zone, vehicle after vehicle pulled up right in front of him or right behind him. The oblivious occupants then hopped out of their vehicles and headed into the primary school.

Between running from vehicle to vehicle, with ticket book in hand, Griffiths told the Hope Standard that patrols of the no parking zones will continue into the future. The warning tickets he was giving out, however, will stop.

“In the future, I will just drive up, take a picture with my trusty camera, go back to the office, run the registered owner and mail out a ticket,” said Griffiths. And a ticket under the District of Hope traffic bylaw for parking at a yellow-painted curb will run you $50.

“It is about the safety of the kids,” says Griffiths, pointing out that if someone parks in the no-parking zone which runs along the entire length of the school, any young child that darts out onto the street, even in the crosswalk, can not been seen by a driver until it is too late.

School district treasurer, Natalie Lowe-Zucchet, has also been working with Tessa to find some other solutions. And yet a second one comes from the District of Hope with the promise of larger, brighter pedestrian crossing signs.

The school district, the Coquihalla Parents Advisory Committee, as well as the school principal, are also looking into the possibility of setting up a volunteer crossing guard program.

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