Petition gets students out of the rain
A Port Douglas mum who spearheaded a petition to get a shelter installed for students left battering the elements while waiting for the school bus will see her request become a reality after Council committed to installing a shelter.
For years Mossman State High School students have been left in the rain or hot sun while waiting at the Port Gardens bus stop on Ulysses Avenue.
Port Douglas resident and mum, Louise Wall, said she decided to start a petition for a shelter for the 20 to 30 students who wait at the stop each morning.
“When the kids went back this year and were standing in the pouring rain, I thought this is ridiculous and something needs to be done,” she said.
“The kids often have laptops they need to take to school and I see them holding their bags tightly trying to protect them from getting wet,” she said.
Ms Wall’s online petition garnered over 1200 signatures in a week.
“I knew there would be other parents who felt the same as me, but it has definitely gone further than I thought it would.”
The petition gained the attention of Council with Douglas Shire Mayor, Julia Leu, saying that Council will install a shelter at the stop.
“Residents have requested a bus shelter at the Ulysses bus stop, and I agree, with the numbers of children waiting there during the school mornings it would be a good idea,” she said.
“I have been working with our officers to find a solution and am pleased to report that after liaising with both FNQ Buslines and the Department of Transport and Main Roads, a bus shelter will be a reality by June.
“The current school run route for the area is clockwise and FNQ Buslines say they can change the direction of the route to counter-clockwise, and the bus will drop and collect the children at the parking area in Ulysses Avenue.
“Changing the route direction will allow Council to move two shelters, that are no longer in use to the Ulysses Avenue parking area. A concrete slab large enough to fit two shelters with fencing along a section behind the shelters will be built and the works will be completed by June,” Mayor Leu said.
Current Douglas Councillor and 2020 Mayor Candidate, Michael Kerr, said he fully supports the concept of a shaded area and would back an appropriate and realistic solution to the situation.
“It’s a Shire wide issue, I have seen kids in other places like in Mowbray and Colenso Road in Killaloe standing in the rain as well,” he said.
“I believe racing out and just fixing one bus stop doesn’t fix the whole issue, we should be going to the state government and the schools and find out how we can get a solution for the whole problem, not just a singular fix.”
Cr Kerr added the first step would be to identify all the needed places around the Shire that shelters are required for school children and then put in bus stops which could also be secondarily used by a public electric bus service which he would like to introduce to the region.
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