Holding $216.55 that they and their friends raised at a lemonade and cookie stand, Emery Shipmaker and Xanna Marjoribanks came to city council on Monday, Aug. 24.
They said they raised the funds to help pay for a crosswalk on Lakeshore Road at 50th Avenue NE and explained why they want it.
One reason is that the Foreshore Trail is in the lower portion of the Raven subdivision. Emery said Lakeshore is a very busy road “and my mom won’t let me cross it because it’s dangerous.”
The second reason, Xanna said, is because kids in upper Raven would like to go to the park, but most of the parents won’t let them because it would mean crossing Lakeshore, “a very dangerous road.“ Cars usually go 60 or 70 km/hr there, she said.
Emery added that if kids from lower Raven want to ride the bus in the morning, they have to cross Lakeshore.
Emery wrote a letter to council ahead of time about the lemonade stand, so Coun. Louise Wallace Richmond had dropped by. She thanked the young people, as did the mayor and other councillors.
“I was extremely impressed with their Covid measures and the quality of their fundraising approach. I think their neighbourhood should be very proud of the work that they did,” Wallace Richmond said.
Rob Niewenhuizen, the city’s director of engineering and public works, said staff took a quick look at the location and would recommend, if there was a crosswalk, that it be on the north side of 50th. Painting would be about $200 while installation of crosswalk signs and advance signs would be about $500.
Coun. Chad Eliason then moved that $700 be taken out of the city’s council initiatives fund to pay for a crosswalk. Eliason also suggested that the girls keep the money and perhaps donate it to a charity.
However, it wasn’t quite that simple.
Coun. Kevin Flynn complimented the girls but said he would vote against the motion, not because he thinks the crosswalk is not warranted but because the city needs to follow proper process.
He said it should go to staff who might decide to send it to the traffic safety committee, where it could be prioritized among other areas in the city needing safety measures. He also agreed the girls should keep the money.
Coun. Tim Lavery agreed with sending the plan to the traffic safety committee, stating that perhaps options such as flashing lights might be needed.
Coun. Sylvia Lindgren spoke up about keeping the money, stating that ways to connect kids to the project are giving them a voice but also allowing them to contribute to it.
Mayor Alan Harrison agreed, so the finance department will look into the process for receiving the girls’ money.
Eliason asked staff’s opinion on next steps, who said they could bring a plan to the next council meeting without having to go to the traffic safety committee. So next meeting it is, was the unanimous vote of council.
After the decision the girls smiled happily and said they were pleased.