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Parents upset again as bus loop re-emerges

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A controversial transit bus loop is making its rounds once again.

Some parents from the University of Winnipeg Students' Association Day Care Centre are outraged over the university's potential plan to route 130 buses down Furby Place past the daycare.

Last fall, the U of W proposed to reroute 130 to 150 buses a day from Portage Avenue to Furby Place because the construction of its new recreation complex on the main campus two blocks east was in the way.

Parents voiced their anger, and as a result, the university said it would seek other potential routes. But a month ago, university representatives returned to the daycare, announcing they were revisiting the Furby Place bus loop.

Seann Vinyasa-Billson, a parent and daycare board member, recalled suggesting several options for routes at the meeting, but the representatives provided their own reasons.

"They said, 'There's 50,000 cars going up and down Portage already affecting the children, so what's another 130 buses?' " Vinyasa-Billson said Tuesday.

Michelle Klimczak, the chairwoman of the daycare and mother of two kids in the daycare, said she wishes there had been more communication between the university and the daycare.

"We were totally blindsided by this," Klimczak said. "The biggest frustration with this whole process is that so little consideration was invested in the fact that this bus route is routed directly in front of a daycare centre with 90 children" ages five and under.

However, this time around, Klimczak believes the university is doing a better job of listening, but she said there is still room for improvement.

"We have asked to be kept informed of this process but we haven't received any communication."

And that is an issue Klimczak plans to bring up at a public meeting on April 17 at 7 p.m., at the Magnus Eliason Recreation Centre, 430 Langside St.

But Jeremy Read, the U of W's senior executive officer and adviser to the president, said the university had been talking to people within the community.

"We're trying to balance university users' needs and those of the community as well," Read said. "This is a community that uses transit disproportionate to the rest of the city. So we have to weigh those kinds of things.

"The university is looking at two routes: the Furby Place loop and a different loop that would go behind the CBC parking lot to Langside. It wouldn't pass the daycare directly," Klimczak said.

cindy.chan@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 10, 2013 A4

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