A Twillingate family prepares to leave Newfoundland after losing the fight for a school bus stop near their home

Courtney Young, right, says her family is considering leaving Newfoundland and Labrador after hitting an impasse trying to get a bus stop closer to their house. (Submitted by Courtney Young)

Courtney Young, a nurse practitioner in the Twillingate area, is considering withdrawing stakes and moving her family out of the province after reaching an impasse in her fight to get a bus stop closer to her home.

Young told CBC News on Monday that her eldest son Landon, five, had to walk 450 meters on a freeway at 80 km/h to get to school by bus. It’s too dangerous, she said.

“There are no houses along this highway. There is a very small shoulder on the road,” Young said.

She said she was asked to have a bus stop at the end of their driveway.

“That way he’s in a safe area, he’s within sight of our house,” she said. But Young said she failed to convince the school board because of its safety requirements for bus stops.

In an emailed statement to CBC News, the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District said Young’s requested stop would not meet its line-of-sight and speed limit requirements – a stop on a road with a speed limit of 80 km/h requires a line of sight of 180 meters to give drivers time to stop.

“In general, and as noted on the district’s website, bus stops are established along all roads in the province approximately every 400 to 450 meters, as long as it is safe,” the statement said.

“The district advises that families are responsible for the safety of students until they get on the bus and once they get off.”

Young said she asked the Department of Transportation to lower the speed limit along the stretch of road so it meets school district requirements. Stopping on a road with a speed limit of 50 km/h requires a line of sight for motorists of 115 meters.

Young says her children have to walk 450 meters along this stretch of highway to reach a bus stop that is not visible from her home. (Submitted by Courtney Young)

But the ministry refuses to budge, she said.

“It’s the end. It doesn’t matter what our situation is. It doesn’t matter that there were locals supporting the need to reduce speed,” Young said.

The Department for Transportation said on Friday it was gathering information on the situation and would have more to say on the matter later.

Getting ready to leave

Young drives Landon to school and picks him up herself, but says this arrangement is not sustainable since she works outside of Twillingate and her husband works on rotation. As two of her other children approach school age, she says, it’s time to think about the future, and her family is considering moving elsewhere in Atlantic Canada.

“I am finishing [job] interviews. Some interviews conducted reference checks. Our family is now preparing to leave the province,” she said.

“We are preparing our house for sale and are actively looking for other areas to move to.”

As a nurse practitioner, Young said, it’s devastating to consider leaving when the province struggles with a shortage of doctors. But talking about leaving the province is not a ploy to get what she wants, she said, adding that her family’s mental health is at risk and they see no other option.

“I put my heart and soul into my work, but I know that at the end of the day no one else will care about the safety of my family. Obviously the government is not interested,” he said. Young said.

“So I have to take this initiative and do what’s best for my family.”

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