Canowindra schools rally behind crossing upgrades

Kids made several signs for this week's protest at Tilga Street. Photo: Ben Rodin
Kids made several signs for this week's protest at Tilga Street. Photo: Ben Rodin

The National Party's candidate for Orange said that NSW Road and Maritime Services needed "a bit of a shake-up" after attending a community rally in Canowindra pushing for upgrades on a major street crossing that joins the area's two primary schools.

Parents and teachers believe it is only a matter of time before a deadly incident occurs, with some parents suggesting the crossing, and its lack of adequate signals for passing vehicles, has been a long-term issue.

Even on the morning of the rally, with plenty of kids in attendance, vehicles frequently failed to stop for those using the crossing. 

"It's actually a matter of life and death… It's only a matter of time before one of our kids in town gets taken out by a car, and we can't see that happen," Chris Cuddy, a local parent among dozens who were at the rally, said.

Dozens of parents, teachers and kids turned up at Friday's rally. Photo: Ben Rodin

Dozens of parents, teachers and kids turned up at Friday's rally. Photo: Ben Rodin

"The crossing hasn't changed for, at least when my kids have been here at school, which is now, over 10 years, and there are real safety concerns." 

St Edward's Catholic School and Canowindra Public School sit on opposite sides of Tilga Street, which is not only a busy a sit down point for kids heading to school, but is also an entry/exit point for trucks and freighters travelling through Canowindra.

Ms Hazelton particularly emphasised the second point, trying and failing to use the crossing herself multiple times, which is missing Zebra lines and signage alerting people to its presence.

"They're [the trucks] not slowing down so what chance have little children got?" she said, pointing to her own personal experience.

"I'm only speaking from Cudal… when we had the pedestrian crossing with the Zebras and with the yellow signs, people knew to stop.

"They will not stop for this." 

Several members in the community have to written to Road and Maritime Services, and current local member Phil Donato, who is competing against Ms Hazelton at next week's State Election, has also contacted the Roads Minister but to no avail.

Parents are so frustrated that we are not being listened to.

St Edwards P&F President Mandy Townsend

"Clearly, we need to get on top of that… it is their responsibility." Ms Hazelton said of the Government Department.

"They need a bit of a shake up, I think." 

However, Ms Hazelton added due to the current care-taker mode of Government she is unable to act but pledged to move on the issue swiftly if elected.

"I've rung the [Roads] Minister but unfortunately we're in care-taker mode so if I got elected I'd be acting on this very quickly." 

While several candidates - Mr Donato had a prior commitment - also turned up to offer support, Mandy Townsend, president of the P&F group at St Edwards Catholic School, believes action needs to be taken soon. 

"The parents are so frustrated that we are not being listened to," she said, adding schools are also tired of having to negotiate the issue.

"They're the ones that are having to… deal with it everyday and people really need something to happen for the kids to have a safe place to get to school."