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Behind-the-Wheel

Ignore them, they'll go away

Last September, a Parents Advisory Committee (PAC) asked me to help establish a crossing-guard program.

The Ecole Oceanside Elementary School PAC in Parksville wanted the program for what they considered a dangerous intersection at one corner of the school.

In past, the principal had raised the issue of liability concerns that needed to be looked into and that was the end of the conversation.

This year, with a little bit of research and advice from another school that had a crossing-guard program, this program was backed by the new principal.

The request made it as far as the school district’s Operations and Maintenance/Transportation manager according to the PAC, where it stalled yet again.

The head of the PAC has now stopped responding to requests for an update on the progress of their project.

The strategy of Ignore Them, They'll Go Away seems to have been successfully adopted by many levels of government.

From the perspective of gathering information for this site, RoadSafetyBC is the worst, TranBC along with the RCMP are somewhere in the middle and ICBC has been the best, although they are now beginning to ignore
e-mail requests as well.

In all cases, if you agenda matches theirs, information is forthcoming, often surprisingly quickly.

The people at RoadSafetyBC spent a lot of effort assisting me in creating a unit on the Enhanced Road Assessment for my ElderCollege course.

However, ask if there has been any follow up research on 2015's B.C. Communities Road Safety Survey to see if there have been improvements and the e-mail enters a black hole.

At this point, I would even be happy with an auto response telling me that my message has been received. It would be a simple matter to include information about how requests are triaged and what to do if a response is not received within a reasonable amount of time.

When I was working in traffic enforcement, I was occasionally reminded by the driver I was dealing with that they were the ones who paid my wages.

I did work for them, but sometimes that work was not what they wanted me to be doing. Still, they had a point and I had an obligation.

Government seems to forget this, too.

On the other hand, I can imagine that with the ability to e-mail some government contacts being so simple, many of us do it. There must be a huge volume of e-mail to deal with and people do make mistakes.

To come full circle to the PAC request, if they considered their crossing-guard program and decided that it was the best solution, they should be prepared to persist in the face of silence.

The group should not quit until they are either successful or are shown that there is a better way to deal with the problem.

Story URL: https://www.drivesmartbc.ca/government/ignore-them-theyll-go-away

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About the Author

Tim Schewe is a retired constable with many years of traffic law enforcement experience. He has been writing his column for most of the 20 years of his service in the RCMP.

The column was 'The Beat Goes On' in Fort St. John, 'Traffic Tips' in the South Okanagan and now 'Behind the Wheel' on Vancouver Island and here on Castanet.net.

Schewe retired from the force in January of 2006, but the column has become a habit, and continues.

To comment, please email

To learn more, visit DriveSmartBC



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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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