Newstead calls for flashing lights

Newstead Primary School principal Kathy Callander with students Sophia and Dallas at the 40km/h zone limit where the local community hopes to see flashing safety lights installed. Photo: Eve Lamb

The Newstead community is lobbying Mount Alexander Shire Council in the hope of getting flashing safety lights installed to highlight the 40km/h zone near Newstead Primary School on the busy Pyrenees Highway.

A document with more than 170 signatures was presented to the council at its November council meeting last week amid growing school concerns around safety for students and their families.

It requests the council to support calls to have flashing LED lights installed at the existing 40km/h limit signs marking the school zone.

“We just want the flashing lights to help slow cars between 8am and 9.30am and 2.30pm to 4pm (on school days),” school principal Kathy Callander told the Express, outside last week’s meeting.

“The Carisbrook Primary School and the Castlemaine Steiner School are also on the Pyrenees Highway and they already have flashing lights to mark their school zones.

“We are literally on the highway here,” Ms Callander said.

“The safety of our kids and families is paramount. It should be a given.

“We continue to see incidents of cars not slowing down or (dangerously) overtaking.

“We don’t want to see that end in a horrific accident.”

At last week’s council meeting, council CEO Darren Fuzzard said that while the document bearing 172 names was not able to be formally accepted as a petition it would be acknowledged as a joint letter and also indicated steps would be taken to support its aims.

“We have had a look at this from a governance rules perspective and unfortunately we can’t accept it as an official petition,” he said.

“A significant number of people in the community have got involved in this.

“We can’t officially accept it as a petition but we certainly understand that this is a significant matter for the Newstead community and we will acknowledge it as a joint letter.

“The relevant director and staff will follow up on this matter and deal directly with the school about their request.

“This is a matter where all we can do is put forward a case to VicRoads and the Department of Transport and seek their support for that, and certainly that’s what we will attempt to do.”