Town doesn’t renew crossing guard contract

The Town of Fort Frances no longer will provide crossing guard service at the intersection of Scott Street and Crowe Avenue.
Council made the decision Monday night after approving a report from Planning and Development superintendent Rick Hallam, who indicated the safe passage of children to and from school should be the responsibility of parents and school boards, not the town.
Since Alexander MacKenzie School here closed last year, the town had been providing crossing guards at only one location—the intersection at Scott Street and Crowe Avenue.
And with only 20-25 children using this crossing, Hallam said it is not worthwhile to renew the town’s contract with Lakeland Personnel, which expired last month.
Coun. Rick Wiedenhoeft, through both the local public and separate school boards, had requested input on the crossing guard issue. He also canvassed parents of students as to their feelings on crossing guards.
However, he only got a handful of responses—all of which concerned the safety of children crossing at the intersection of King’s Highway and Keating Avenue.
Hallam said there has been some suggestions that a crossing guard be hired to monitor that intersection.
But he added, “[the Planning and Development executive committee] does not see this as a viable solution, as to employ two systems of traffic control at one location would tend to be confusing to vehicular as well as pedestrian traffic.”
As such, Hallam recommended the Operations and Facilities division re-adjust the timing of the traffic light at the intersection of King’s Highway and Keating Avenue to allow more time for pedestrians to cross.
“The responsibility of the safety of children enroute to school has been an integral part of the ongoing discussion [the Planning and Development executive committee] has had regarding the issue over the past several years,” said Hallam.
“Planning and Development executive committee members wish to convey that they continue to be concerned regarding the safety of children, but are of the opinion that the responsibility of the safe passage of children to and from school is primarily that of the parents and, secondarily, that of the school board,” he added.
Hallam also noted town council recently agreed that all schools within town limits be established as “school zones,” meaning motorists will have to slow down and obey certain signs when in the area of those schools come this fall.
“This, alone, will have a positive impact on the safety of children enroute to school or home,” said Hallam.
Council approved the report, meaning the town no longer will provide crossing guard service at the corner of Scott Street and Crowe Avenue, but it will re-adjust the timing of the lights at the intersection of King’s Highway and Keating Avenue.
Also at Monday night’s meeting, council:
•approved capital purchases for the Fort Frances Children’s Complex in the amount of $8,936.96 (this is for one basketball net, one volleyball net, one toddler picnic table, two pre-school picnic tables, one school-age picnic table, and two school-age bikes);
•authorized the mayor and clerk to sign the 2005 service contracts with the Rainy River District Social Services Board for the Fort Frances Children’s Complex, and prepare the necessary bylaw;
•agreed to enter into a design-build construction contract for the sand shed addition at the airport with Select Construction of Emo (the job has an estimated cost of $178,800 and a bylaw finalizing this contract also was passed Monday);
•agreed to reconsider a property class change for land at 427 Mowat Ave., and reconsider assessments for properties at 418 Nelson St. and 420-424 Nelson St.;
•authorized the town and Rainy River Future Development Corp. to purchase a half-page, full-colour advertisement in Trade and Commerce Magazine, with the town’s share of the ad ($1,612.50) being funded through the 2005 economic development budget;
•agreed to have a representative attend a Basic Community Economic Development training session Oct. 13-14 in Barwick; and
•referred an invitation from Office of the Fire Marshall to attend a seminar, “The Essentials of Fire Protection,” on Sept. 7-8 in Dryden to the Community Services executive committee for a recommendation.

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