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Parents battle back lane woes

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Stanley Knowles School students hurry down a narrow back lane beside Fairgrove Park, while a car waits to pass.

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Stanley Knowles School students hurry down a narrow back lane beside Fairgrove Park, while a car waits to pass. Photo Store

Darryl Spence is concerned for his children’s safety due to what he believes is inadequate snow clearing.

The Garden Grove resident said his son and daughter, ages 10 and eight, respectively, have a somewhat treacherous trudge to Stanley Knowles School (2424 King Edward St.).

From their home on Larkspur Drive, the children take a back lane, behind Fairgrove Bay and beside Fairgrove Park, to and from school. He said the back lane is not big enough for the kids and the many motorists who use it to drop off/pick up their children at school.

"They’re just plowing one route through, enough for one car, so when a car comes, the kids have to go on the snow bank closest to the garages and fences," Spence said. "It becomes a little dicey. I walk about five of them home, including my two kids, so I just know from experience. You hold your breath that everybody drives safely because there’s no other place to walk."

Spence said the children could take Garden Grove Drive to and from school, but it’s a longer route and when they have used it this winter, the sidewalk wasn’t adequately cleared. He said he contacted city councillor Mike Pagtakhan (Point Douglas) about the back lane issue, but was less than thrilled with the response.

"I sent Mike Pagtakhan a picture from last week and he said (the situation) was ridiculous and he’d look into it, but then I got an email back from his assistant, which looked like a response from whoever is in charge of the snow removal, saying based on whatever their mandate is, they’ve done what they’re supposed to do. Basically, they’re not listening anymore.," he said.

Alvin Patriarca, executive assistant to Pagtakhan, told The Times "the manager of the city’s street maintenance division said the back lane was cleared to the policy standard, which is eight feet and nine inches, so there’s nothing we can do. We’ve complied to what is required."

Spence said the back lane safety issue could be fixed if the city removed another four feet or so of snow, up to where the grass in Fairgrove Park starts.

Spence’s neighbour Sherry Deeley, who has kids aged 10 and nine who attend Stanley Knowles, said she drives her children to and from school.

"I drive them even though I’m a block away because it (the back lane) is too dangerous," Deeley said.

Neither Spence or Deeley hold much hope that anything will be done about the issue.

"We just live with it and do whatever we have to do to be safe," Deeley said.

Patriarca reiterated the lane has been plowed according to the city’s standard and said there’s nothing more which can be done about it.

"The manager of the city street maintenance division has said that the back lanes were cleared to the policy standard, which is eight feet, nine inches, but according to Mr. Spence, he’s not satisfied with (the) narrowness of the back lane," Patriarca said.

"So there’s nothing we can do, we’ve complied to what is required, and I know they will never get satisfaction with it."

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