© Submitted photo
Students living on Farm Road in Gillams get off a Newfoundland and Labrador English School District bus following a trial run on Friday, Oct. 18, 2013. Regular service to the road started Monday, Oct. 21, 2013.
CORNER BROOK — It may have been a rainy Monday morning, but not even the weather could dampen the spirit of families on Farm Road in Gillams.
That’s because the new school bus for the road officially started its run to transport the more than 30 students who live there to and from Templeton Academy in Meadows.
“The kids all went together,” said Tammy Park with excitement in her voice. “They all picked each other up on the road. They all walked to the stop together.”
She said to see their faces was wonderful. “They were all so happy. The kids feel special now. And they’re so excited to go to school.”
Getting a bus for Farm Road has been a 10-year battle for Park and other parents on the road.
With more than a 1.5-kilometre trek to the main road, Park said “the kids need it.”
The former Western School District wouldn’t put a bus on the road because of safety concerns, including the lack of a suitable turnaround. But last year the parents and the town teamed up to make the road safe. Parents cut brush along the road and the town hired a contractor to install the turnaround and make improvements along the road.
With that completed, the board had guaranteed parents a bus would be made available. However, when school started in September the new Newfoundland and Labrador English School District still had concerns.
To make sure everything was up to standard the town called in the contractor again and made the necessary changes.
On Friday the bus made a trial run and dropped off the students after school. But Park said the real excitement was evident Monday, with the official first run.
Park said the bus travels all the way in the road without making a stop and picks up the first of the children at the turnaround. Then it makes its way back out the road, stopping at designated stops. At the one right near her home about 15 or 16 students, including her son, who’s now in Level 1, get on.
For the parents the bus means they no longer have to worry about how they’ll get their children to and from the main road. Park said the constant worry is gone and parents no longer have to rush or try to find alternate arrangements if they can’t get to the main road in time.
Now with a bus on the road, Park said the parents plan to get together to build a shelter for students to wait in.
No one from the school district was available for comment prior to press time.