Student safety focus of Walkervale School project

walkervale school funding
Mayor Jack Dempsey, Walkervale State School P&C president Charise Sell, Cr John Learmonth and students Alexis Elmy and Charli Sell celebrate Walkervale State School getting funds to improve safety.

The Walkervale State School P&C committee is celebrating news that Bundaberg Regional Council’s design for a safer drop-off zone has received State Government funding.

Council has been collaborating with the school, Department of Education and Department of Transport and Main Roads on the designs since 2016.

Bundaberg Regional Council lodged a funding application with the State Government which this week responded, announcing funds for the $526,000 project from the School Transport Infrastructure Program.

Divisional representative Cr John Learmonth said the announcement was welcome news for parents and teachers at Walkervale.

“This new design creates a dedicated ‘kiss-and-go’ area for students which is removed from the general road network,” Cr Learmonth said.

“What that means is a safer area for children to be exiting vehicles, better vehicle flow through busier periods and less traffic on these busy roads at peak times.

“The design also allows for an additional 23 car parks, including new disability parking, which I know will be welcomed by staff and parents alike.”

The design, undertaken by Council’s civil design team, introduces a drop-off lane by creating a new road reserve that connects two cul-de-sacs at the school’s Hurst Street entry.

Rather than crossing Hurst Street or using the cul-de-sacs as drop off points, the new design enables parents and buses to stop in this dedicated area on school property.

Walkervale State School P&C president Charise Sell said it was a matter she had discussed with Council during her six years on the committee.

Walkervale State School drop off zone design
Walkervale State School drop-off zone design.

“All this was ever about is the safety of our children,” Charise said.

“Because we’ve got these two cul-de-sacs kids are just running out.

“It was a recipe for disaster, they don’t have that street sense.

“So the stop and go will get the cars off Hurst Street and off the cul-de-sacs and the children won’t have to go out to Hurst Street to be picked up by parents.”

Charise said the carparking was also much-needed and would be of benefit to parents and neighbouring houses.

Mayor Jack Dempsey said it was rewarding to see this important project moving forward after he had met with the department and ministers, and written several letters.

“We are very grateful for the funding for this project following the representations Council has made to the State Government,” Mayor Dempsey said.

“Congratulations to our talented design staff who were able to put forward this proposal which created a shovel-ready project. As we know this is always so beneficial when applying for funding.

“By lodging this funding application we were able to successfully secure this funding for our community.

“Council will continue to represent our schools across the region with many more improvements on our agenda.”

Walkervale school principal Ken Peacock said he was thrilled to hear about the funding announcement and congratulated Council for its advocacy.

He said the support from the two levels of government had been great and he thanked Council for sourcing the funding.

“[The new drop off zone] is about providing access to our school for our families,” Ken said.

“It is about opening our school up, it’s really positive for our families.”

A new pathway connecting the school crossing to existing pathways was also constructed at Walkervale State School this year.