By Charlie Senack, Barrhaven Independent
With back to school now less than three weeks away, the Ottawa Safety Council says there is a dire need for crossing guards in Barrhaven to ensure kids get to school safely.
Jamie Kwong, the Ottawa Safety Council’s executive director, says there are nine intersections in the community still needing crossing guards for this September. It’s a good job for gig workers, Uber drivers, or those looking to up their income during rising inflation.
“Barrhaven has specific needs. We have three levels of guards: regular being they have an assigned intersection they go to either every day in the morning or afternoon depending on what shift they take,” she said. “Then we have the relief workers who help cover those permanent shifts when the regular crossing guard can’t make it. Finally we have our list of on-call guards which is our last resort for emergency backup.”
In Chapman Mills Kwong says a guard is still needed at the corner of Stoneway Drive at Dylan Way. In Stonebridge Crossing Guards are needed on Leamington Way at Chapman Mills, and at Clearbrook Drive near Bissett Way. The Longfields neighborhood also is seeking two crossing guards for Beatrice Drive at Calaveras Avenue, and at Claridge Dr and Fairlop Way. In Old Barrhaven the need is for Malvern Drive at Sherway, and on Cedarview at Kennevale.
But one of the most crucial communities where the need is the greatest is in Half Moon Bay which has four schools alone.
“Half Moon Bay has been very tough,” said Kwong. “People find it to be one of the most busy and intense intersections needing a guard. We still need coverage for Cambrian Road at Kilbirnie Drive/Tuscana Way, and at River Mist Road at Cambrian.”
As a community of close to 100,000 people, Barrhaven continues to grow with many young families now calling the neighborhood home. Barrhaven has a total of close to 30 schools, with Pierre De Blois, a new French public high school opening this fall.
Intersections around Barrhaven are expected to be busy this school year as more normalcy returns following the COVID-19 pandemic. Kwong says crossing guards play a vital role in keeping intersections safe for young children and families who are crossing the street.
“We want to encourage active transportation and more people will be walking to their schools,” she said. “We are expecting a more normal school year with no COVID-related closures and that means more students. That’s going to take some time for drivers to get used to again, and more motorists will be on the roads again with people returning to the office. Everyday I get calls from guards letting us know that there were near misses of people running red lights, people running stop signs, people not stopping at all. A crossing guard helps be that extra warning to a motorist to obey the rules of the road.”
Barrhaven Crossing Guard Recognized
In mid June, just before the school year was coming to a close, a longtime Half Moon Bay crossing guard was recognized for her exemplary efforts.
Rosa Bucci, a crossing guard at Cambrian road near Kilbirnie, has been serving in the position for nine years. Kwong says they received many phone calls and emails from parents crediting the Half moon Bay crossing guard for going above and beyond, so they made her employee of the month for May.
“Rosa has been an exemplary crossing guard,” said Kwong. “The principal for St. Cecillia and Barrhaven Ottawa Catholic School Board Trustee Spender Warren were very engaged in wanting to come out and acknowledge Rosa. It’s a very busy intersection which is highly used by local motorists, so the work Rosa does is extremely important.”
They gifted Bucci with a plaque and flowers to thank her for almost a decade of keeping kids safe.
Warren said he was happy to be in attendance and take part.
“Rosa is a staple in our community when it comes to the safety of students at St. Cecilia,” he said. “She’s been working at the same intersection since crossing guards were introduced there due to the high volume of traffic. She knows all the kids by name and never fails to say hi to them with a giant smile.”
Kwong says anyone looking to explore the career path of becoming a crossing guard Should visit their website at: OttawaSafetyCouncil.ca for more information.