Coun. Kim Robinson voted opposed last night to taking a proposed amended traffic bylaw that would reduce speed limits in school zones to a third reading.

Because the vote was 6-1 and did not pass unanimously, the third reading of the bylaw will take place at the next city council meeting on June 24. The proposed bylaw amendment would change school zone speed limits to 30 km/h, seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The first two readings of the bylaw passed 6-1 with Robinson opposed during both readings.

Robinson said it was hard to vote against a bylaw that is "portrayed as safety for our children" but he was unhappy with how the bylaw is being rolled out.

"We are going to change signs in four school zones that are going to be no longer school zones a year from now," Robinson said.

"So, I would rather see those school zones left out. Certainly, it's been 40 km/h for a number of years. I don't think one more year would make that much of a difference."

Coun. Crystal Froese spoke in favour of the proposed amended bylaw. She said, regardless whether the school zone speed limit changes, the signs need to be replaced.

"The sign changing amount of budget is a smaller portion to the budget overall and those signs absolutely need to be changed and updated regardless of whether we’re changing the school zones," she said.

As for the schools that will be closing in a year, Froese said those signs can be taken down and recycled when the new school of South Hill opens.

Coun. Jamey Logan said he has fielded calls from residents on both sides of the argument. However, he said those against the reduced speed limit were those who are just in a rush.

"Honestly, the ones against were simply because they couldn't afford the extra 10 seconds. I suggested maybe they leave a little bit earlier. I don't see an issue with it myself, so I'll definitely be voting in favour of this," Logan said.

Coun. Doug Blanc added to the voices supporting the amended bylaw. Like Froese, he said the current school zone signs are inconsistent and need to be changed.

"They're all over the map. I've driven around the city and looked at (the signs), and some are very close to schools, others are blocks away. Some of them are so small you can hardly read them. Some are so faded you cannot read them. So, the signs have to be changed at some point anyways to brign them up to code," Blanc said.

City council received a report during their April 22 meeting from the Engineering Services department looking at the possbility of reducing school zone speeds. It was part of the city's updated Transportation Mast Plan in a report called "Safe Routes to School."

During the May 1 meeting of the Public Works, Infrastructure and Environment Advisory Committee, city administration brought forward a reprot of the proposed bylaw amendments. The amendments were also endorsed by the Accessible Community Advisory Committee during their meeting on May 9.

The bylaw amendments are expected to cost $500,000 with $300,000 coming from the sidwalks budget and $200,000 from the traffic control budget.

The Moose Jaw Police Service have indicated there will be a grace period with the intent to have Sept. 1, the first day of school, as the hard start date. Moose Jaw is one of the few municipalities that does not have a 30 km/h school zone.

The bylaw includes signage to clarify where there is no parking and no stopping in school zones. It was expected that 600 signs will need to be replaced under the amended bylaw at a price tag of $200,000.

There is also language in the amended bylaw to allow the city to move vehicles to allow for construction, strengthen language around general permits and enforcement and improved language around unauthorized signage.

You can read the entire bylaw amendment here.