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School wins speed signs bid

South Featherston School pupils on the day they made a presentation to South Wairarapa District Council. Samuel Raj (left), Eloise Ward, Allegra Warrington, Daniella Duckett, Nathan Raj, and Ilias Hopkins. PHOTO/FILE

CHELSEA BOYLE

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The bid to slow down drivers who whizz past South Featherston School has spurred the district’s council to action.

In May, a handful of pupils told the South Wairarapa District Council (SWDC) how many vehicles were speeding past their school.

The children recalled last year’s Wairarapa Road Safety Council visit when a speed radar had recorded one vehicle zooming past at 78kmh.

Their presentation was so compelling it brought councillor Lee Carter to tears.

The Times-Age contacted SWDC on Wednesday to see how the matter had progressed in the months since.

On Thursday, South Featherston School principal Tana Klaricich found out new speed reduction signs would be put up within weeks.

“When I told the senior class they just cheered,” she said.

“I wish I had got it on video.”

Their proposal had been based on the setup and design of “big, bright” signs outside Kahutara School, which is also a rural school.

They were “so grateful” to everyone who had played a part in getting the new signs, she said.

An incredibly busy time of year is looming with silage trucks and other vehicles going up and down the road.

Road safety was in the forefront of her mind with the hi-vis vests the school was gifted last year incorporated as a mandatory part of the uniform when going to and from school and while on out of school events.

Another safety issue the school was hoping to see resolved was large potholes in the carpark, which had tripped children up – resulting in a chipped tooth in one case and scratches and scrapes.

On one memorable occasion a car had to be pushed out of one of the potholes.

Resealing had recently taken place on South Featherston Rd but the work had stopped metres short of the potholed carpark and roadside berms in front of and alongside the school.

From correspondence with the district council Mrs Klaricich was “hopeful” this could be rectified in the New Year.

“I understand it needs to happen while the school is closed.”

Some of the potholes were where the school bus did the pick-up and drop-off.

The council’s infrastructure and services manager Mark Allingham confirmed the speed signs would be installed in November, but said “a key factor here is to remember just because there

are signs present does not guarantee speed will decrease”.

Mr Allingham said the school carpark was outside the limits of this set of renewal work and of council’s responsibility.

“Council does at times fix works not associated with the council where there is some public good,” he said.

“We will happily look at the frontage of the school for future works hopefully in the New Year subject to other area-wide works and budgets.”

 

 

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