Fredericton school crossing guard

Suzanne Beale, a crossing guard in Fredericton, stops traffic near Priestman Street School on Tuesday morning. Fredericton spends roughly $200,000 a year on crossing guards. (Daniel McHardie/CBC)

Saint John wants the provincial government to start paying for crosswalk guards outside of schools in the city.

New Brunswick municipalities have been providing the service for decades but the cost is becoming a burden for some councils.

Bill Edwards, the transportation commissioner in Saint John, said he believes the cost of paying for crosswalk guards should be a provincial responsibility.

Crosswalk guards cost Fredericton $200,000, Saint John $183,000 and Moncton $160,000 a year.

"In my view, I think that staff is right on, the province should be paying for crossing guards,” said Coun. John MacKenzie.

MacKenzie spent 17 years on a local district education council. He said he believes the provincial government should be picking up the tab for crossing guards.

“It's a student-based service, you know the province looks after transportation for school buses and drivers,” he said.

Stephane Thibodeau, Moncton's transportation co-ordinator, said the city has no choice but to pay for crossing guards within its own boundaries.

"All the streets or most of the streets in the municipality are under the jurisdiction of the municipality,” he said.

The province’s Motor Vehicle Act states that crosswalk services are a municipal responsibility.

Further, school districts are instructed not to provide crosswalk guards or use their own funds to pay for them.

A Department of Education spokesperson says the provincial government works closely with municipalities and helps with city budgets through grants.