Parents welcome new crossing supervisor

The students of Canowindra will have a safe trip across Tilga Street with the announcement of a new crossing supervisor for the road.
The students of Canowindra will have a safe trip across Tilga Street with the announcement of a new crossing supervisor for the road.

Parents and students at St Edwards Catholic Primary School and Canowindra Public School can rest a little easier with the news a school crossing supervisor will be operating on Tilga Street.

Announced yesterday the supervisor is one of 88 that have been appointed as part of the NSW Government's plan to fast track the appointment of 300 new school crossing supervisors within three years.

Canowindra Public School P&C President, Beth Gordon, said it was fantastic news for both schools.

"This is the outcome we were after and it has happened, the letters and fighting were worthwhile," she said.

"We're not worried now, we know there is a responsible adult there that will be helping them across the road.

"Not leaving it to their own intuition as to whether or to go or not, it's a relief it really is," she said.

Mrs Gordon said she was looking forward to the independence a safer crossing would bring to all students.

"I'm from out of town but my kids do use the crossing to go to piano lessons," she said.

"Now I know I don't have to come in and meet them because I know they will be able to get across the road safely."

"I didn't think it would be this quick and I thought we'd have to fight more, I thought it would be drawn out."

The addition of a crossing supervisor will be the latest safety improvement at the site, with a number of upgrades installed in December 2019, including pedestrian-activated flashing lights, in addition to the school zone flashing lights, 'dragon teeth' marking and school crossing flags.

Canowindra Public School Principal, Sharon Hawker, said she hoped more students would be able to walk to and from school now.

"We had been encouraging people to use the other side of the school for pick up and drop off because this side was unsafe," she said.

"Those kids that are 10-years or older and live this side of town will hopefully be able to safely walk home and get a bit more independence now.

"When I had a child here I'd never let her cross the road herself, I'd have to come down and walk her across.

"But if she was here now, and hopefully most parent will be the same, would let them."

St Edward's Principal, Ken McNamara, said it was wonderful to see this outcome for the Canowindra community.

"I think all the teachers in both the schools and our parents will sleep a little bit easier knowing that their children are going to cross this road each and every day safely," he said.

"Our concern for this crossing has been going on for many years now and today it's going to be a very safe crossing and that's great news.

"I thank all of our officials that have listened to us and brought the concerns to the government and ensured the right decision was made at the end of the day."

Parliamentary Secretary for the Deputy Premier Steph Cooke said the new school crossing supervisor would ensure access to and from school was safe for every student at both schools.

"This is the result of months of discussions and on-site investigations with both local schools, the Canowindra community, Transport for NSW and the Department of Education," Ms Cooke said.

"I particularly want to acknowledge and thank the school Principals, Sharon Hawker and Ken McNamara, P&C President Beth Gordon, and P&F President Mandy Townsend for working so closely with me on this issue. Their passion and advocacy is a fantastic example of what can be achieved when the community and the State Government work together to come up with practical solutions."

"I also want to thank the team at the Department of Education and Transport for NSW, who have rapidly responded to my representations on this issue and have recognised the need for a tailored solution at this unique crossing."

"The addition of a school crossing supervisor at Tilga Street will complement upgrades and deliver a safer journey to and from school for all students."

Ms Cooke said the process of delivering the supervisor had been made harder by the Member for Orange, Phil Donato's opposition to an amendment she made during a debate in Parliament on the issue.

"I came into this from a difficult angle and copped a lot of criticism at the time," she said.

"There's no doubt Mr Donato had written to the minister about this issue but I'm disappointed by the way he politicized it from the get-go.

"The reality is that at no time prior to that debate in parliament did he reach out to me on this issue.

"It isn't my electorate and while I do have a handful of kids in my electorate that do attend school here, I check with those parents and the crossing wasn't an issue for them.

"The reality is as a neighboring MP I would have quite happily worked with Mr Donato on this but he didn't give me that opportunity."

Ms Cooke said she now encouraged locals to apply for the supervisor.

"We are ready to recruit immediately, the sooner we receive applications, the sooner it can be filled and they can be on-site," she said.

"The only delay is in the actual recruitment process itself and for that, we need someone who's got a passion for road safety, our young people and their future and has time twice a day to put their hand up and say they are willing to have a go.

"I think you'll find that in this community and this being such an issue we will be able to find that person locally and pretty quickly."