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

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  

backtoschoolTownship of Esquimalt

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Shea Smith is one of three creators of The Homeless Idea podcast. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
Victoria podcasters talks homelessness first-hand

Three homeless Victoria residents created The Homeless Idea to give themselves a voice

The president and chief executive officer of BC Ferries promises additional reviews to help sustain BC Ferries. (Black Press Media File)
BC Ferries to review expenditures following 43 per cent passenger drop in 2020

Promise from CEO follows new figures showing significant decline in passengers

B.C. SPCA’s Wild Animal Rehabilitation Centre voted favourite non-profit in the 2020 Best of the WestShore Awards. (Facebook/Wild ARC)
Wild ARC in Metchosin voted favourite non-profit for second year in a row

The rehabilitation centre treated nearly 3,000 animals last year

Local MLA Adam Olsen, a member of the Tsartlip Nation, here seen before the 2020 provincial election, said a new report finding “widespread systemic racism against Indigenous people” in the provincial health care system does not surprise Indigenous people. (Hansard TV)
MLA, Tsartlip member says ‘silo’ approach won’t work dealing with racism in health care

Adam Olsen calls for comprehensive approach in dealing with systemic racism

Aragon Properties’ proposed development for the corner of Cook and Pendergast streets in Cook Street Village was voted down by Victoria city council on Thursday night after a public hearing. (File contributed/ City of Victoria)
Lack of affordable housing spells end for Cook Street Village project in Victoria

Council narrowly defeats proposal for four-storey building on former Pic-A-Flic Video site

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest weekend of COVID-19 pandemic with 46 deaths; more than 2,300 cases

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides COVID-19 update

Fossil finds at Mt. Stephen. (Photo: Sarah Fuller/Parks Canada)
Extreme hiking, time travel and science converge in the Burgess Shale

Climb high in the alpine and trace your family tree back millions of years – to our ocean ancestors

Kettle bells sit aligned in an indoor fitness studio. (PIxabay.com)
1 COVID-19 case at a B.C. fitness studio leads to 104 more infections, 6 school exposures

According to case data released by Fraser Health, one case of the novel coronavirus carries a big impact

Vehicles drive past a display thanking essential workers in Burnaby, B.C. on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
B.C. changing COVID-19 case reporting as virus spread continues

Manual counting takes more time, leads to errors

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Mask fundraiser helps make children’s wishes come true

From Black Press Media + BraveFace – adult, youth and kid masks support Make-A-Wish Foundation

Christy Jordan-Fenton is the co-author of the book Fatty Legs, which has been mentioned amid the controversy of an Abbotsford school assignment on residential schools.
Co-author of residential schools book condemns controversial Abbotsford class assignment

Children’s book mentioned amid controversy at W. A. Fraser Middle School

Kootenay East MLA Tom Shypitka takes over as energy and mines critic for the B.C. Liberal opposition. Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick (right) moves from health critic to assistant deputy speaker. (Hansard TV)
B.C. Liberals pick critics to take on Horgan’s NDP majority

Interim leader Shirley Bond takes seniors, long-term care

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland listens to a question from a reporter on the phone during a news conference in Ottawa, Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Spending too little worse than spending too much, Freeland says as Canada’s deficit tops $381B

‘The risk of providing too little support now outweighs that of providing too much’

Left to right: A screenshot of NTC nurse navigator Lesley Cerney, FNHA regional mental health manager Georjeana Paterson and Island Health’s medical health officer Dr. Charmaine Enns addressing Ehattesaht community members from Ehatis reserve in a Facebook live update. (Ehattesaht First Nation/Facebook)
Medical team sent to Ehatis reserve near Zeballos to guide community through COVID outbreak

17 cases, eight recoveries and no hospitalizations as Island Health praises First Nation’s response

Most Read