Mama Bear has come out to play because one of her cubs is facing potential danger thanks to the University of Winnipeg. Not only her cub but there are 88 others. Let’s add in the other children in the community and one can only guess at what the numbers really are.
The University wants to wrap a bus loop around where the daycare is located on Furby Place. This is a narrow street where it is difficult navigating through traffic everyday. The University is presenting two options to the community. As a parent – this to me sounds like what I say to my children. You can have “this” or “that”. There is no room for other options. hmm….
I was interviewed for the Winnipeg Free Press yesterday, however it seems the Health & Safety issues were not clearly defined. Allow me to define them for you here as outlined by the Management Committee. (aka – Board of Directors)
Safety Impact to Children: No cosmetic changes suggested by the U of W Administration can change the basic fact that 130 to 180 buses will be passing through a congested area where small children enter and exit the daycare – children who can’t be expected to watch for speeding buses and whose safety is directly and negatively impacted by this proposed route.
Respiratory Health Impacts to Children: Scientific research confirms that traffic pollution – particularly bus exhaust – is a hazard to children’s respiratory systems and exposure can result in asthma, wheezing, and allergic reactions.
Developmental Health Impacts to Children: There is scientific research that documents the negative impact bus exhaust has on a developing nervous system and the resultant impact on cognitive, memory, and emotional systems.
Noise Pollution Impacts to Children: Noise pollution from increased traffic will have a deleterious impact on children’s concentration, attention, hearing, and enjoyment of the outdoor play spaces in the neighborhood.
Let us contemplate...the children’s outdoor play area. The MC has been actively raising money and applying for grants to develop the play area. This area as it stands now is a swamp in the spring/fall. I affectionately refer to it as “The Shrek Zone”. Does it really make sense to subject our children to more pollution (noise and bus exhaust) while at the same time trying to develop the area?
If you are in the area or wish to have your voice heard on this matter, please send letters to the Editor at the Winnipeg Free Press. The University is holding a community meeting to present the two options. There were plenty of other options drawn up by the parents and presented to the U of W Administration and they are not being considered. One of the options was to create the bus loop in front of the main building facing Portage Ave. (Castle Building) Transit thought it would be workable and voiced that opinion in the information session in March 2013.
It makes you wonder why it is important to keep the green space in front of the main campus building but it is okay to disrupt the green space for our children. What is my dream for my child? To be safe, healthy and most of all happy. Truth be told, it is my dream for all children.
Seann Vinyasa-Billson, BA
Update –April 2013: The City of Winnipeg Transit has chosen a new route in the main traffic areas (not residential). This is a test for a year. So hopefully a year from now, the U of W will not try to push through this ridiculous bus loop.