Cape Breton Post - - FRONT PAGE - BY NANCY KING nk­ing@cb­

“We want to make sure that we have the sup­port from their coun­cil and the com­mu­nity.”

PORT HAWKES­BURY — The Strait Area Tran­sit Co-op is con­tin­u­ing to ex­pand its ser­vice into new ar­eas.

The body’s board re­cently voted in favour of ex­pand­ing the ser­vice into the First Na­tion com­mu­nity of Chapel Is­land. Gen­eral man­ager Malcolm Beaton noted the ser­vice is work­ing to ar­range a meet­ing with band of­fi­cials.

“ We want to meet with them to ex­plain to them what we’re go­ing to be do­ing there, and to make sure that we have a buy-in from their com­mu­nity, as well; it’s no good to send a ser­vice in if it’s not go­ing to be uti­lized,” he said. “ We want to make sure that we have the sup­port from their coun­cil and the com­mu­nity.”

Beaton said among the in­for­ma­tion he wants to pro­vide the band coun­cil with are dates when the ser­vice will run and where it will stop. Once that takes place, it could be­gin serv- ing the area pretty quickly, just a week or so af­ter the meet­ing.

Due to de­mand, SAT is also ex­pand­ing into Petit de Grat on a trial ba­sis, three days a week. Pre­vi­ously, res­i­dents of that Aca­dian com­mu­nity had to make their way into nearby Arichat to catch the bus, which Beaton said could be a dif­fi­culty for peo­ple.

“ We’ve had a tremendous amount of in­ter­est,” he said.

It’s too soon to gauge the re­sponse, Beaton said, not­ing that it will take some time to mea­sure and to pro­mote the ser­vice.

Beaton is pleased with how the ser­vice has grown since it was launched about a year-and-a-half ago. In ad­di­tion to one bus, it owns a num­ber of vans.

“ The bus is pretty well maxed out com­ing from Rich­mond County into Port Hawkes­bury in the morn­ing, we’re talk­ing a lot of (Nova Sco­tia Com­mu­nity Col­lege) stu- dents, we’re tak­ing peo­ple to the ROC Cen­tre, we’re tak­ing peo­ple to their med­i­cal ap­point­ments,” he said.

In an­tic­i­pa­tion of an ex­pan­sion into In­ver­ness County, SAT is cur­rently con­sid­er­ing pur­chas­ing an­other bus and a cou­ple of vans. A com­mit­tee is cur­rently work­ing on that po­ten­tial ex­pan­sion.

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