Callington parents cry out for an affordable school bus
Residents have reached out to two state election candidates as they campaign for better services in their town – and a fix for Erskine Bridge.
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Callington parents are campaigning for a more affordable school bus service for their children in the lead-up to the state election.
Callington is not served by a bus to any of the three nearest public high schools.
The Department for Education’s Murray Bridge bus stops at Monarto, its Mount Barker bus stops at Kanmantoo, and it doesn’t provide a bus to Eastern Fleurieu School at Strathalbyn.
Instead, students pay $5.60 per day to ride on a commercial coach.
Over the course of a term, that cost adds up – especially if a family has more than one high schooler.
At least 16 kids made the bus trip each day, local mum Katie Dreissigacker said, at a cost of about $130 a month.
Another mum, Melanie Reiffel, argued that Callington’s parents didn’t deserve to be penalised.
“All we’re looking for is ... support to educate our children,” she said.
The parents have turned to Hammond’s state election candidates in search of a solution, including the Nationals’ John Illingworth and independent Airlie Keen.
Mr Illingworth promised to take up their cause.
Ms Keen wrote to state Education Minister John Gardner last week, asking his department to look at subsidising a school bus to Strathalbyn “to provide funding equity for families in Callington”.
Pedestrian crossing still needed alongside Erskine Bridge
There’s one more thing Callington's parents – and plenty of other residents – would like: a pedestrian bridge across the Bremer River.
Four years have passed since the Murray Bridge and Mount Barker councils put out concept designs for a separate span that would sit alongside the heritage-listed Erskine Bridge, which does not have a footpath.
Even that small step had been almost 20 years in the making.
The footbridge featured in a plan for development of the town put together by both councils in 2020, and the Mount Barker council listed building the footbridge as one of its key objectives for 2021-22 in its annual business plan.
But there’s no bridge there yet.
Mr Illingworth argued that the Department for Infrastructure and Transport should foot the bill.
“The risk to school students, cyclists and other pedestrians who are forced to share the existing road bridge with cars is patently obvious,” he said.
“It shouldn’t take a catastrophe before something happens.”
If elected, he said, he would push the two councils to find a solution within 12 months.
Read more: Citizens’ Agenda
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