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Local support for legislation to limit school- zone speeds 0

By Angela Brown, Portage Daily Graphic

Coun Irvine Ferris, left, and Insp Jean-Marc Nadeau are pictured near La Verendrye School Friday, April 20, 2012 in Portage la Prairie. They are pleased proposed legislation will permit municipalities to set reduced speed limits for school zones. ...Staff photo by Angela Brown

Coun Irvine Ferris, left, and Insp Jean-Marc Nadeau are pictured near La Verendrye School Friday, April 20, 2012 in Portage la Prairie. They are pleased proposed legislation will permit municipalities to set reduced speed limits for school zones. ...Staff photo by Angela Brown

The Province has announced legislative amendments Thursday to the Highway Traffic Act to help provide local governments control over speed limits in school zones.

For Portage School Division, board chairman Preston Meier was especially thrilled to hear the news.

"I am amongst a long line of people that are extremely pleased by that," he said.

He said the Association of Manitoba Municipalities has had the issue as a standing resolution. As well, the Portage School Division board of trustees initiated a resolution a year ago on the school-zone issue.

"It was unanimously accepted by the other 36 (school) divisions to support it," said Meier.

"It is just the beginning of the process," he added. "There will be more details as it goes forward, but it is pretty cool they realize that it is an issue. Manitoba is the only province in the western provinces that doesn't have the ability to set their own zones."

The government reports the proposed amendments would permit local governments, such as municipalities, band councils and community councils, to set maximum speeds lower than 50 km/h in school zones.

It was close to three years ago when the RCMP in Portage became concerned about the speed limits around school zones.

Central Plains RCMP Insp. Jean-Marc Nadeau noted reduced speed limits provide added safety and can help save lives.

There is an increased risk of pedestrian / vehicle accidents for vehicles travelling more than 30 km/h, he said. The higher the speed of the vehicle, the greater the risk the individual will suffer fatal injuries from such an accident.

"I had asked one of our constables to do some research around speed around school zones, and the problems it creates with people travelling at high rates," Nadeau said. "The results of that were presented to council back in the fall of 2009. Now I am pleased the government has agreed to allow the municipalities to set their own speed zones around schools."

Coun. Ryan Espey, head of the city's public safety committee, agrees the change was needed and commended Manitoba Infrastructure and Transportation Minister Steve Ashton for his support.

See more in Portage Daily Graphic

angela.brown@sunmedia.ca


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