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‘Very appreciative’: Reduced speed zone restored near Manitoba school

A reduced speed zone is once again being enforced near a rural Manitoba school.

Parents in New Bothwell were upset last week after the RM of Hanover removed a school zone speed sign the province said couldn’t be enforced.

The sign, asking drivers exiting the highway to slow down to 30 km/h as they pass Bothwell School, was installed by the RM last year.

Last month, the province told the area reeve the school zone wasn’t legal because of a ditch that separates the highway from the school.

“Because of that, they couldn’t have an enforceable school zone there,” said Jeremy Desrochers, whose son is a crossing guard at Bothwell School. “So that’s why they just were told they had to remove it.”

The sign was taken down just before the first day of school, upsetting parents concerned for their children’s safety.

“We were really caught off guard,” said Desrochers. “A lot of the community members and parents were really upset, because we have a very busy highway that runs through town.”

Now, a new sign is up in its place. Desrochers said once parents voiced their concerns, the province and RM acted quickly.

“We had temporary signs put up, 30 km/h signs – not school zone – just 30 km/h signs,” he said. “The day after, there were permanent signs put up.”

The area is technically not a school zone, but does still carry penalties and fines for anyone who speeds through. Desrochers said Manitoba Infrastructure and Transportation has installed a digital speed board there as well.

“So when people are coming into town off the highway, they not only have to go from 90 to 50, but they also are getting a readout of their speed to make sure they know it’s supposed to be 30 right up ahead,” Desrochers said.

He’s concerned that the mix-up led to the sign being taken down for more than a week, but he’s happy the issue was resolved quickly.

“It was really nice to see,” said Desrochers. “I’m very appreciative that the reeve did quick work with whoever he had to to get this taken care of ASAP, because we didn’t want to be without our zone.”

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