Nfld. & Labrador

N.L. should pay for St. John's crossing guards: mayor

St. John's Mayor Dennis O'Keefe is criticizing the provincial government for not covering the cost of hiring school crossing guards.
The City of St. John's has reversed their decision to not fund a program that hires guards to help children at crosswalks like this one, near St. Andrew's Elementary School. (Mark Quinn/ CBC)

St. John's Mayor Dennis O'Keefe is criticizing the provincial government for not covering the cost of hiring school crossing guards. 

O'Keefe said the city is reluctantly paying the bill for crossing guards, after the province and the Eastern School District refused to chip in.

In the weekend edition of the St. John’s Telegram, the province paid for an advertisement reminding drivers to slow down for school children.

O'Keefe says the province should put its money where its mouth is.

"Action is required and they should be with us ensuring that the children whom they have care of cross the street safely," he said Tuesday.

Crossing guards will be back on the job Wednesday as children head back to school.

In a statement released Aug. 26, O'Keefe said the city changed its position because student safety is one of its priorities.

Despite agreeing to fund the program for another year, O'Keefe said council still feels the city should not be funding the program indefinitely.

"We still believe this is not a municipal issue and will continue to work with the Eastern School Board and the provincial government to develop partnerships which will ensure the long-term viability of the school crossing guard program," said O'Keefe, at the time.

The program is projected to cost $145,000 annually, and the expense will be included in the city's 2012 budget.

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