Some Ontario parents express concerns of schools location on major highway

Parents with children at two schools east of Oshawa say they are increasingly concerned about the safety of the schools due to where they are located.

Clarke High School and The Pines Senior Public School in Newcastle, Ont., are located directly on Highway 115/35.

Lindsay Smith’s daughter is set to start the sixth grade at The Pines Senior Public School in September.

Smith told CTV News Toronto that the speed limit along Highway 115/35 is 90 kilometres per hour, while most school zones are 40 kilometres per hour.

“I mean, these cars go closer to 120 [kilometres per hour],” Smith said.

Ryan Frost, another parent whose son is set to attend the senior public school, voiced similar concerns.

“It’s a main freight route to Peterborough. There’s a lot of big trucks going down this way [..] so it is definitely a safety concern for my family,” Frost said.

Parents expressed concerns with the growing enrolment in the area, making calls for a new school to be built for all grades up to Grade 12.

Education Minister Stephen Lecce visited with key stakeholders of the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board (KPRDSB) this week, but parents’ request for a new school was denied.

“While that request for funding was not granted in 2022, as part of the province-wide application cycle, we have re-submitted our request,” the chairperson of KPRDSB, Steve Russell, told CTV News Toronto in a statement. “We will continue to advocate for that funding to support our long-term accommodation plans for the community.”

David Piccini, MPP for Northumberland-Peterborough South, said he has heard from many parents, and “appreciates their advocacy.”

“The status quo does not work at Clarke High School and the Pines Senior Public School,” Piccini said. “That is why I invited Minister Lecce for a tour of the site and a productive meeting with the board.”

While the schools have been situated where they are for decades, parents argue the schools’ past history “is not relevant.”

“There have never been children this young coming here before,” Sharon Grant-Young told CTV News Toronto. “Also, traffic’s changing, the population is changing, there are so many more houses being built.”

Parents have started up a petition now to get a new school built.

With files from CTV News Toronto’s John Mussleman

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