Monday, November 30, 2009

Letter To Roland Hache

Hon. Roland Hache
Marysville Place
P. O. Box 6000
Fredericton, NB
E3B 5H1

November 30, 2009

Dear Hon. Roland Hache

During our meeting on Monday, November 16, 2009 we asked that the 21 passenger MFAV owned by Bathurst High School be taken off the road until the issue of winter tire vs all season tires is resolved to the satisfaction of Transport Canada.

We have since been told that Bathurst High School has taken the 21 passenger MFAV off the road until such time as Transport Canada has come to a decision in this matter and your consulting engineer, Mr. David Hoar, has the research data to back up his position on what type of tires should be on this 21 passenger MFAV.

In that regard, we are asking for your confirmation that BHS's 21 passenger MFAV has been taken off the road until a decision on the use of winter vs all season tires has been reached. If this is the case, then we are concerned about all the other 21 passenger MFAVs in all school districts of the province. In light of the Bathurst situation, will they also be taken off the road until a final decision has been made? Given the liability considerations, it would seem to us that all of these vehicles should be taken off the road immediately.

At our meeting you will recall that we asked to be involved in the process and to be made aware of the steps being taken to undertake the research required. On Friday, November 27, 2009, we were sent a document from Mr. David Hoar "Usage of winter tires designated tires on passenger vehicles and light busses" dated November 22, 2009 (attached). While this document certainly gives us an understanding of Mr. Hoar's opinion, it does not cite any research data, studies or actual testing. In our view, Mr. Hoar's letter points to the need for actual testing of this type of 21 passenger MFAV under New Brunswick's winter highway conditions.

We urge you, as Minister of Education, to request that NB's Department of Transportation undertake its own studies as a supplement to the studies that we understand will also be undertaken by the federal Department of Transport at your request. We do not need to remind you that this tire issue needs to be resolved quickly so that children can participate in after school activities knowing that the proper tires are installed for safe travel during the winter months.

Thanking you advance for your response to this letter.

Yours sincerely,

cc. Premier Shawn Graham
Denis Landry, NB Minister of Transportation