Trans­port re­lief in mo­tion

Kalgoorlie Miner - - FRONT PAGE - Kelly Bell

Re­lief is in sight for Kam­balda and Cool­gar­die res­i­dents who have been stranded with­out pub­lic trans­port to Kal­go­or­lie for the past two years.

Tran­sGold­fields, on be­half of the Pub­lic Trans­port Author­ity, will in­tro­duce a six-month trial of two re­turn ser­vices be­tween Kam­balda and Kal­go­or­lie on Satur­days, and two re­turn ser­vices from Cool­gar­die to Kal­go­or­lie on Thurs­days from early next month.

The move comes af­ter res­i­dents, the Shire of Cool­gar­die, and lo­cal politi­cians lob­bied for the ser­vices, af­ter a change in reg­u­la­tions meant mem­bers of the pub­lic could no longer ac­cess school bus routes.

Shire of Cool­gar­die pres­i­dent Malcolm Cullen said the lack of pub­lic trans­port had been raised by con­stituents ver­bally and in writ­ing at least 50 times in the past two years.

He said the is­sue had been a pri­or­ity for the Shire, and it was only when the lo­cal gov­ern­ment re­ceived a $20,000 helpline from Gold Fields, own­ers of the St Ives gold mine near Kam­balda, that the wheels were put in mo­tion for the $50,000 trial. “We are just hop­ing that from here peo­ple will sup­port the ser­vice, that is the most im­por­tant thing,” he said.

Gold Fields vice-pres­i­dent and head of sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment Philip Wood­house said the com­pany jumped at the chance to sup­port an ini­tia­tive that would sup­port com­mu­nity well­be­ing and im­prove con­nec­tiv­ity.

Kam­balda res­i­dent Me­lanie Al­lan was blind­sided when she ar­rived in the Gold­fields town three­and-a-half years ago to find there was no pub­lic trans­port.

“It was very, very strange mov- ing to a town where there was ab­so­lutely noth­ing,” she said.

“I see ev­ery sin­gle day how it af­fects peo­ple in this town be­cause there are a lot of mums that don’t drive, there are a lot of peo­ple that don’t have a sec­ond car and it’s not a fun drive to do Kam­balda to Kal­go­or­lie, es­pe­cially those who are el­derly.”

As a pro­ba­tion­ary driver, Ms Al­lan is not con­fi­dent to drive the 60km to Kal­go­or­lie alone be­cause of the many road trains that use the route.

The mother-of-two said be­cause of the lack of pub­lic trans­port op- tions, she had been forced to book any med­i­cal ap­point­ments around her hus­band’s shift work.

Af­ter deal­ing with the tyranny of dis­tance for the past two years, Ms Al­lan is adamant the new bus routes will make a “huge” dif­fer­ence to peo­ple’s lives.

Im­pressed by those who had worked tire­lessly to have the ser­vice in­stated, Mem­ber for Eyre Gra­ham Ja­cobs urged Cool­gar­die and Kam­balda res­i­dents to use it.

“It is very im­por­tant now that the com­mu­nity vote with the feet and use the bus,” he said.

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