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Council approves $40K for new adult crossing guards

City councillors are spending almost $40,000 to hire 11 new adult crossing guards.

The topic is one that is almost always raised during budget time with councillors requesting extra guards at busy locations.

Councillor Keith Egli, who spearheaded the request, said the studies have been completed and the locations meet the criteria set out by the city, so councillors bumped up the money.

"You know, as school started, there's been more and more discussion, more and more concern expressed by people right through the city to various councillors about this is an improved area, why don't we have a crossing guard?"

But Mayor Jim Watson said the city wants to talk about sharing the costs of future crossing guards with the school boards. A meeting between both sides is set up for next week.

"The transportation authority that runs the school buses and so on are making a number of significant changes including the distances that a child can get a school bus versus walking to school. And that has implications for the city because obviously the farther a child has to walk there may be safety implications....I think there has to be some obligation at least to open the discussion with the school boards that they should have some responsibility to help defray some of the costs because obviously most of these crossing guards are in proximity to schools even though they are on city roads and side walks."

The city currently has adult crossing guards at 158 locations and the entire program costs $1.8 million.

The $40,000, which is being funded out of the city's one-time and unforeseen account, will only last until the end of December. After that, if the guards are to return to the 11 locations, more money will have to be allocated as part of the 2015 budget.

The locations are near the following schools: A Lorne Cassidy School, E.e.p. Maurice-Lapointe, St. Clare School, Reine des Bois/La Source, Featherston Drive P.S., Lakeview P.S., W. Erskine Johnston P.S., Canadian Montessori Academy, Meadowlands P.S., Charles Hulse and Elmdale Public School.

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