Two school crossings lose state funding

By Lachlan Durling

CAMPASPE Shire Council has been forced to remove two school crossings in the shire as they no longer longer meet VicRoads funding criteria.

Councillors made the difficult decision at Tuesday night's meeting to remove the Eyre St, Echuca and Edward St, Rochester crossing, as they were considered under-utilised and no longer met the criteria of Victoria's Children's Crossing Supervisor Subsidy Scheme.

The Eyre St crossing serves Echuca East Primary School students and in a recent count assisted 20 primary school students an hour to cross safely, with 156 vehicles recorded passing per hour.

Thirty primary and secondary students an hour used the Edward St, Rochester crossing, with 57 vehicles passing through per hour.

The removal of the two crossings will save council an estimated $33,500 per year.

“This decision has not been made without full assessment of the role that council plays in the health and safety of residents,” Cr Leigh Wilson said.

“It is one of many tough decisions; whether it's crossing guards, bridge renewals or the condition of roads, it's simply around funding.

“We're looking everywhere to put the required savings into projects around the shire.”

Cr Daniel Mackrell was against the removal and said there was no consultation with parents or school principals, while Cr Annie Vickers said the decision was not permanent.

“I want to remind the community that if you think we are making the wrong decision please do not hesitate to contact us and put your point forward,” she said.

Council will advise the affected school communities of the closure and removal of these two crossings. Other crossings that support each school will remain in place.

“This isn't just about the number of students, there are a number of rules that have been set out for funding and we need to be guided by those,” Cr Vicki Neele said.

Council noted the decision to remove the crossings may not be permanent, as school communities change over time and attendance and foot traffic may rise again in the future.