Halton Police Children's Safety Village
This summer the Safety Village received all new pedestrain stop lights donated by Burlington Hydro and implementation supported by our Optimist Club. As well, Optimist Olie worked his usual magic and all of the cars were serviced to be ready for the new school year. The Optimist Club of Oakville supports the Halton Police Children’s Safety Village by maintaining the buildings and equipment in the village, as well as the electric cars and bicycles used by the students. Each year over 7,000 elementary students from the Halton School Boards visit the village to learn about safety. The Halton Regional Police Service provides the safety lessons to Kindergarten, Grade 2 and Grade 3 students. The younger students learn "Elmer's Seven Safety Rules" and pedestrian safety. Grade 2 students learn the rules of the road and then drive the battery-operated cars. Grade 3 students lean about bicycle safety and ride bicycles or scooters around the village. In addition, school bus safety is taught with an actual bus on site, and electrical safety is reviewed with replicated power lines and equipment. The hands-on training is most effective in teaching safety.
The Safety Village is laid out with many different road signs, working traffic lights, a fully-functioning railroad crossing and a number of familiar buildings, such as restaurants, a bank, a gas station and stores.
The "Halton Police Children's Safety Village" was the vision of Chief W. I. James Harding of the Halton Regional Police. He used his office and persuasive force to raise funds and design the first Safety Village in Canada. It opened on May 11, 1987. The layout and design were impressive, but the structural design of the buildings and the work done by the contractor were of poor quality. Their thought at the time was "After all, it's only a make-believe building".
The Optimist Club of Oakville became involved in 1993 when the Safety Village was in such ill repair that it was going to have to close. The leaking roofs resulted in rotting the structure of the buildings. Along with the Optimist Clubs of Georgetown, Milton, Burlington and Upper Burlington a project was launched to rebuild the Safety Village. The project was a natural for Optimism, since approximately 10,000 children from the Halton Region have the opportunity of going through the safety program at the Village each year. Six buildings were rebuilt, three buildings were added and the existing portable classroom was removed and was replaced with a permanent building. The basement of the new classroom building is the Optimist Club of Oakville meeting room. The Optimist Club of Oakville provides ongoing maintenance and repairs for the Safety Village.
The Safety Village jail - while it could be utilized to house traffic violators, it is for entertainment purposes only!