Young Pathfinder staying safe

Emma Jackson asks town council for new crosswalks near the Guide Hall

Emma Jackson of the 1st Sidney Pathfinders successfully petitioned Sidney town council for newly-painted crosswalks on Bevan Avenue and Third Street after she and a group of Sparks completed a safety audit of local streets.

A member of the Sidney Girl Guides is asking that the Town of Sidney consider making the streets a little safer near the community’s Scout and Guides Hall on Third Street.

The town, says its mayor, is listening.

Emma Jackson, 14, is a member of the 1st Sidney Pathfinders and helped conduct a safety audit as part of a program called Girls For Safer Communities. Run by Girl Guides of Canada, the program wants to create leaders and increase awareness of local safety concerns of women and girls. Jackson says she and a Sparks group went on a walk in the community, from the Guide Hall to the Sidney library, to see what was safe and what was not.

“Everything is well maintained here,” she said. “Overall, it was pretty good.”

Jackson said Sidney does have a lot of things in place to keep pedestrians safe — including signs, crosswalks and accessible sidewalks. She added safety does come down to the actions of both pedestrians and drivers.

The biggest concern to come out of the survey was a lack of crosswalks near the Scout and Guide Hall.

“Outside of the hall, there are crosswalks at Third Street and Bevan Avenue,” she explained, “but none cross to the guide hall.”

To cross the road safely, she said, pedestrians would have to go east or west on Bevan another block to find a crosswalk. Armed with a petition signed by 40 people, Jackson has asked the town to put in a new crosswalk and signs at the intersection of Bevan and Third, where none currently exist.

“It’s not that its unsafe there, but it would be good to make drivers aware of pedestrians there.”

Jackson said she presented the petition to council at its June 24 meeting and they asked a few questions before requesting town staff to look into the costs and logistics of putting in new crosswalks.

Mayor Larry Cross said he was impressed by Jackson’s initiative and her presentation to council. Painting crosswalks at the intersection was part of the town’s transportation plan, but had been delayed. Jackson’s presentation was a timely reminder, he said, adding the work will be done soon. Cross added council also asked staff to look into the possibility of a pedestrian-controlled crossing signal there as well.

For her effort, Jackson earned a pin from Guider leader Tamara Fraser for seeing the Girls For Safer Communities program through to its end.

Jackson’s next project with the local Girl Guides is an independent trip (she has been raising money for it for weeks) to South Korea, Mongoila and China in a week. She will be taking part in an international Girl Guide camp in South Korea with up to 10,000 other girls and Guide leaders. She then travels to Mongolia to take part in a service project there, before going to China for some sightseeing.

Leaders needed

Local Girl Guides are always looking for adult  leaders, says Guider Tamara Fraser. The program is seeking responsible adults to take on a leadership role within the Guiding movement.

As well, Fraser said girls are welcome to join at any level of Guiding — they don’t have to start at the beginning, and can join at any time. For details, visit www.girlguides.ca.