Before agreeing with his fellow Sarnia City councillors to approve school crossing guard services at the corner of Rapids Parkway and Berger Road, Mike Kelch expressed concern that the move intended to safeguard children from drivers doing "rolling stops" at the intersection would ultimately fail to solve the underlying problem.
"It bothers me that because people are not obeying the signal, we're going to spend $4,000 a year ad infinitum to put a crossing guard there. I say that the crossing guards will be at risk. It's 'Thunderdome' out there. It's crazy," said Kelch, referring to the 1985 "Mad Max" movie starring Mel Gibson. "If they're going to run the stop sign and risk hitting a kid, I'm not convinced this is going to solve the problem."
Police have already issued more than three dozen tickets in a recent blitz.
City engineer Andre Morin said putting traffic signals at the intersection is planned "when warranted," but that won't be before Rapids Parkway is extended to Exmouth Street.
Councillor Jon McEachran, who voted against the motion, argued that a better solution would be to "use the resources we have [police officers issuing tickets for failing to stop] rather than hire another crossing guard."
But Councillor Anne Marie Gillis said having a crossing guard at the intersection was no less important than similarly busy crossings at other city intersections. "You have do something if there's no signal."
Kelch ultimately supported the passed motion, "but only because doing nothing is not acceptable. Putting a crossing guard in lieu of people not obeying the law is not the right approach."
Referring to the crossing guard, which staff has said will start on Nov. 22, 2010, "I hope they will get out of the way."
By J.D. BOOTH