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Willows needs more bike racks

Willows School Bike Racks 1
Michelle Kirby

Parents auxiliary appeals to municipality for financial help

Thirty bike stalls are not enough for 580 elementary students. A recent $5,000 donation from Oak Bay Kiwanis will help that situation at Willows elementary.

Parent advisory committee member Michelle Kirby convinced Kiwanis of the need last week. She also approached Oak Bay council last month for a donation to go toward adding bike racks to the school grounds.

“The shortage forces students and parents to lock their bicycles to the adjacent fence … or risk not locking their bikes at all,” the school’s parent advisory committee wrote in a recent letter to Oak Bay council.

Kirby asked that council consider contributing toward the $41,540 cost of adding three racks that would hold an additional 27 bikes.

Although Coun. Nils Jensen was in favour of the purchase – “We need to get half the school (population) approved in principle,” he said – he questioned why the Greater Victoria School District hadn’t provided the racks for the school. Kirby explained that the school had been given $60,000 two years ago to spend as it wished on items such as playground equipment or bike racks, and it chose the former.

She was asked to provide a more detailed budget of how much Oak Bay would be asked to contribute. Council did, however, send the request to the municipal estimates committee for consideration, a signal that the proposal will be seriously considered.

That committee began this week to sift through dozens of applications for funding from non-profit groups.