School zone safety on a slippery slope

Parents of Roncalli Elementary students are worried their children are risking their lives every time they walk to school.

Josh White

Newfoundland and Labrador is known for its harsh winter conditions and slippery sidewalks. After Tuesday and Wednesday’s snow storm, the city of St. John’s has been pounded with over 60 centimetres of snow in some areas.

Now in the storm’s aftermath, parents like Candace Pinsent are worried for the safety of students. She is a mother of two Roncalli Elementary students and isn’t pleased with the sidewalk conditions near the school.

Preston Stock is a student at Roncalli Elementary; he walks to school most mornings. Preston says the sidewalks near the school are often slippery and very dangerous. Josh White/Kicker

“The sidewalks aren’t great,” said Pinsent. “They’re not cleared well enough for the children and they’re slippery. They’re not sanded. It’s just not a good situation for the children, especially those who walk alone without their parents, if they fall.”

St. John’s deputy mayor, Ron Ellsworth, says clearing sidewalks is an issue right across the city.

“Today, we clear approximately 90 kilometres of sidewalks within the city of St. John’s, with the school zones having the highest priority,” said Ellsworth.

Holly Synard is a parent of an autistic student. She regularly walks her child to Roncalli Elementary and says the sidewalks are always a problem.

“The difficulties that I face really, is the ice,” said Synard. “It’s the ice and the sidewalks that are not always cleared.”