School District 58 is planning to block access to the former Coquihalla Middle School (CMS) field from Armstrong Street (“Access denied,” Jan. 21). They should consider the following:

1. Many students of Diamond Vale Elementary use this route walking to and from school. If access is denied, the students from Armstrong and the surrounding streets will be required to walk four blocks north (1600 block to 1999 block) on Armstrong (which has no sidewalks), then walk downhill, west on Ransom (which again has no sidewalks) to Menzies, to Granite Avenue (which also no sidewalks) — to Douglas Street, and then to school.

2. The path — which is circuitous back to Armstrong and Banns Streets — is also used for many residents of the area out for a walk or jog. The school board should poll the area to get input from those impacted by their decision.

3. Why is liability an issue? If access is blocked, does that mean the school board no longer has to carry any liability insurance? In the last 30 years how many claims have they had? None, I believe.

4. When David Laird was mayor, I pointed out to him that there were no parks on the east side of the city. His response was that school grounds met the requirements as a park setting. (In fact, there was one park at one time, in the vicinity of what is now Cranna Crescent, which the city sold off as lots.)

5. It is my understanding that according to English Common Law, if any uninhibited access to a path, trail, road, street, etc. for seven consecutive years, the said path is deemed to be a public thoroughfare, and access cannot be denied.

Considering the above, anyone affected by their decision should contact the SD 58 trustees and urge them to drop the idea of blocking access to CMS from Armstrong Street.

Merle Boyes