Esquimalt High School, along with Rockheights Middle School and Macaulay Elementary, are designated as playground zones rather than school zones. (Black Press File Photo)

Township of Esquimalt doesn’t have school zones

Province, neighbourhoods look at alternative options when mandating rules around schools

Don’t expect to see the classic, neon yellow school zone sign next time you’re cruising through the Township of Esquimalt.

Neither Macaulay Elementary, Rockheights Middle School nor Esquimalt High School are designated school zones, and instead are listed as playground zones. These zones carry a canary yellow, diamond-shaped sign with a person running after a ball in the middle, as well as a speed limit of 30 km/h.

This wasn’t an oversight– it was a decision that the Township said was consciously made.

In recent years, members of the Township’s engineering department sat down to decide that they wanted to scrap school zones.

“[They] had a discussion, and decided that playground zones offer more protection for children than school zones,” said Bill Brown, director of development services, in an emailed statement. “Playground zones have longer hours and are in place 365 days a year while school zones are only in place on school days.”

MAP: School zones back in effect across Greater Victoria

Both zones call for the same speed limit, but carry different application times: playground zones are in action from dawn until dusk, while school zones are in effect from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Both areas also carry the same legal consequences for speeding drivers.

“School zones and playground zones result in the same fines,” said VicPD spokesperson Const. Matt Rutherford. “[From] $196-$253 and three points.”

ALSO READ: Oak Bay police officers croon for back-to-school safety

The option to choose between playground and school zone hours was introduced by an amendment to the Motor Vehicles Act in 2003.

“This allows communities and schools to set hours to meet the needs of the community,” said the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure in an emailed statement.

The ministry doesn’t, however, lean in favour of using the playground signage at schools.

“If a playground ‘dawn to dusk’ speed zone were used for a school zone, children would not be afforded the same level of safety – as children may be present before dawn or after dusk in the winter months.”

As a result of the differences and overlaps between the two zones, the ministry is considering instating a combined ‘child activity zone’ instead, but is currently in the research phase of this shift.

One example being studied is from the City of Calgary, where playground zones and school zones were consolidated into a single play zone with fixed hours in 2016.

In the meantime, other neighbourhoods are getting creative with their options. While Esquimalt is the only area in the Greater Victoria School District to exclusively impose playground zones, several schools in Victoria have alternative signage. Victoria High School, for example, is neither a playground nor school zone, instead simply having markers for a 30 km/h speed limit. Similarly, Lambrick Park Secondary doesn’t have official signage but uses a series of speed bumps along its neighbouring streets.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com


Send a Tweet: @NicoleCrescenzi

Like us on Facebook  

Just Posted

B.C. population on pace to fall behind Alberta

Provincial population could reach almost seven million in 2043, but Alberta is growing faster

Greater Victoria could see a months worth of rain within a week this fall

Weather Network predicts wet, warm fall season for B.C.

Saanich brings Uptown-Douglas Corridor draft plan to the public

Feedback from residents will help finalize the plan

Central Saanich Police issue recommendations to homeowners after break-in

Incident happened over weekend in Tanner Ridge area

Defense says burden of proof not met in double murder case against Oak Bay father

Closing statements begin in trial for man accused of killing daughters Christmas 2017

WATCH: United Way #Drive4Five event launches campaign to raise $5 million

More than 80,000 lives changed last year by the United Way

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of September 17

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Man who crushed Nanaimo RCMP cars with stolen truck gets more jail time

Majore Jackson, 34, sentenced to two more years in jail in provincial court in Nanaimo

B.C. dog breeder banned again after 46 dogs seized

The SPCA seized the animals from Terry Baker, 66, in February 2018

Surrey mom allegedly paid $400,000 for son in U.S. college bribery scam

Xiaoning Sui, 48, was arrested in Spain on Monday night

Three dogs found shot dead in Prince George ditch

The three adult dogs appeared to be well cared for before being found with gunshot wounds, BC SPCA says

B.C. party bus company to be monitored after 40 intoxicated teens found onboard

Police received tip teens and young adults were drinking on party buses and limousines in Surrey

Rick Mercer calls out Conservative candidate in B.C. for fake meme

‘Not true. All fake. Please Stop,’ tweeted Rick Mercer in response

Bear killed in Kimberley after chasing girl, wreaking havoc on town

This particular brown-coloured bear has been the subject of many calls this summer; very food habituated, CO says

Most Read