Courtney Young, a nurse practitioner in the Twillingate area, is planning to pull up the stakes and move her family out of the province after reaching a dead end in her fight to have a bus stop closer to her home.
Young told CBC News on Monday her oldest son Landon, five, has to walk 450 metres along an 80 km/h highway to get the bus to school. It’s just too dangerous, she said.
“There’s no houses along this highway. There’s a very small shoulder on the road,” Young said.
She said she’s asked to have a bus stop at the end of their driveway.
“That way he’s in a safe area, he’s in view of our home,” she said. But Young said she hasn’t been able to make ground with the school board because of their safety requirements for bus stops.
In an emailed statement to CBC News, the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District said the stop Young requested would not meet its requirements for line of sight and speed limits — a stop on a road with an 80 km/h speed limit requires a line of sight of 180 metres to give drivers time to stop.
“In general, and as outlined on the district website, bus stops are established along all routes throughout the province at approximately every 400 to 450 metres, as long as safe to do so,” the statement reads.
“The district advises that families are responsible for the safety of students until they board the bus and once they disembark the bus.”
Young said she has asked the Transportation Department to lower the speed limit along the stretch of road so that it falls in line with the the school district’s requirements. A stop on a road with a speed limit of 50 km/h requires a line of sight for motorists of 115 metres.
But the department is refusing to budge, she said.
“That’s the end of it. It doesn’t matter what our circumstance is. It doesn’t matter that there’s been locals supporting the need for the speed to be reduced,” Young said.
The Transportation Department said Friday it’s gathering information about the situation and will have more to say on the matter later.
Getting ready to leave
Young drives Landon to school herself and picks him up but says that arrangement isn’t sustainable since she works outside Twillingate and her husband is a rotational worker. With two of her other children nearing school age, she said, it’s time to think about the future, and her family is considering moving elsewhere in Atlantic Canada.
“I’m in the process of completing [job] interviews. Some interviews have proceeded to reference checks. Our family is now in the process of getting ready to leave the province,” she said.
“We are getting our house ready to put up for sale and we’re actively looking at other areas to relocate to.”
As a nurse practitioner, Young said, it’s devastating to be considering leaving while the province struggles with a lack of doctors. But talking about leaving the province is not a ploy to get what she wants, she said, adding the mental health of her family is at risk and they see no other choice.
“I put my heart and soul into my job, but I know ultimately there’s no one else going to care for the safety of my family. It’s evident the government isn’t interested,” Young said.
“So I have to take that initiative and do what’s best for my family.”