Town won’t be hiring crossing guards Local woman not satisfied with reasons

FORT FRANCES—After reviewing the issue once again, council decided Monday night to uphold a resolution it passed back in July, 2005 to no longer provide school crossing guards in town.
But parent Leslie Danielson, who had requested council reconsider hiring crossing guards as part of the 2007 budget process, backed by a petition bearing 669 signatures, said she isn’t satisfied with the town’s rationale in the matter.
“I, as well as several other members of our community, am extremely disappointed that school crossing guards will not be approved in the 2007 budget,” remarked Danielson.
“They are, however, installing ladders and buoys at the [Fifth] Street dock to make an unsafe swimming area more accessible and possibly more appealing to our youth,” she added.
“They were also willing to pay the entire cost of the sidewalk to Wal-Mart ‘primarily to address safety concerns about pedestrians walking to Wal-Mart.’
“Town council believes that children are already making safe passage to school and because no incident has occurred, there is no need for crossing guards,” charged Danielson.
“I guess they are waiting for one of our children to be seriously injured or killed before taking this subject seriously.”
In a report from Planning and Development superintendent Rick Hallam that council approved Monday night, he pointed out the town followed up on Danielson’s request by initially earmarking an amount for crossing guards in the projected 2007 operational budget.
The town also obtained information from the two school boards regarding how many children living south of Scott Street attend Robert Moore School and how many living south of King’s Highway attend J.W. Walker and St. Francis.
Data provided showed the number of children in the areas of concern included only 22 attending Robert Moore, 13 going to J.W. Walker, and nine attending St. Francis.
Hallam also noted it’s been almost two years since council passed the resolution to withdraw from the provision of school crossing guards.
“The town is not aware of any traffic incidents involving pedestrians or school children during this time,” he said. “As it appears, children are making safe passage to and from local schools.”
“The members of the Planning and Development executive wish to convey that they hold the safety of our children as paramount, and recognize that the provision of crossing guards provides some measure of comfort to parents,” Hallam wrote in his report.
“Given the foregoing, and given consideration to the present and future financial considerations and the need for fiscal restraint, the Planning and Development executive committee cannot support the re-introduction of school crossing guards at this time,” he concluded.
By approving Hallam’s report, council agreed to uphold its original decision to not provide crossing guards here.
However, council did direct the Operations and Facilities division to make any adjustments possible to the traffic lights at King’s Highway and Keating Avenue to allow for additional time for children to cross.