Ru­ral trans­porta­tion to im­prove qual­ity of life

Sackville Tribune - - COMMUNITY - SUB­MIT­TED BY KRISTIN PEE­BLES

Many res­i­dents in the Tantra­mar re­gion are seek­ing trans­porta­tion to meet their daily needs, to get to med­i­cal ap­point­ments, to par­tic­i­pate in com­mu­nity events, and to lessen their en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact. In the com­ing weeks, there will be a se­ries of trans­porta­tion sto­ries shared by lo­cal res­i­dents as part of the Trans­porta­tion for Tantra­mar ini­tia­tive through EOS Eco-en­ergy, a lo­cal non-profit com­mu­nity-based or­ga­ni­za­tion.

Denyse Mil­liken en­joys life in Dorch­ester. Her daugh­ter at­tends the lo­cal school, and has many friends in the area. Mil­liken is ac­tive in the com­mu­nity, work­ing part-time and par­tic­i­pat­ing in com­mu­nity events and the lo­cal his­tor­i­cal so­ci­ety. De­spite this, Mil­liken has of­ten con­sid­ered mov­ing to Sackville. Find­ing af­ford­able trans­porta­tion is a se­ri­ous con­cern for Mil­liken, as a sin­gle par­ent with a limited in­come liv­ing in ru­ral Tantra­mar. In the Vil­lage of Dorch­ester, goods and ser­vices are limited, re­quir­ing res­i­dents to make reg­u­lar trips to Sackville, and oc­ca­sion­ally Monc- ton, to meet their daily needs.

“You can’t live with­out a car in a ru­ral area,” ex­plains Mil­liken. “If it reached a point where I couldn’t keep it, I’d have to move.”

The ris­ing cost of ve­hi­cle own­er­ship - es­pe­cially gas - is hard on fam­i­lies with fixed in­comes.

Mil­liken has to be very se­lec­tive about the trips she makes. Ev­ery Satur­day, she trav­els to the Farm­ers Mar­ket in Sackville to sell her wool and hand­made crafts. She also takes this op­por­tu­nity to pick up any ne­ces­si­ties.

“I try to com­bine trips. Gen­er­ally, I won’t come in un­til Satur­day for the mar­ket.”

This works well for shop­ping, but it can be very lim­it­ing when it comes to so­cial ac­tiv­i­ties. While Mil­liken en­joys life in Dorch­ester, she also likes to get out to events in Sackville and Monc­ton.

When­ever pos­si­ble, she car­pools with friends, but this isn’t al­ways an op­tion. Of­ten, she sim­ply can’t make the trip.

“Liv­ing in ru­ral ar­eas can be iso­lat­ing.” Says Mil­liken. “Some­times I just need to get out, but I can’t af­ford to go for just one thing.”

A com­mu­nity trans­porta­tion sys­tem would pro­vide ru­ral Tantra­mar res­i­dents with the abil­ity to par­tic­i­pate reg­u­larly in events in the Tantra­mar area, and re­duce the dis­pro­por­tional im­pact that the ris­ing cost of op­er­at­ing a per­sonal ve­hi­cle has on fam­i­lies with limited in­come.

As Mil­liken com­mented: “I think that a lot of peo­ple liv­ing in ru­ral ar­eas are in the same po­si­tion.

A trans­porta­tion sys­tem would give peo­ple more op­tions, im­prov­ing the qual­ity of life in Tantra­mar from a so­cial and eco­nomic per­spec­tive.”

For more in­for­ma­tion on the Trans­porta­tion for Tantra­mar project, please con­tact EOS Eco-en­ergy at eos@nb.aibn.com or 536-4487.

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