Bus ser­vice stalled – for now

The Glengarry News - - The Opinion Page - News Com­mu­nity Trans­porta­tion Grant Pro­gramMu­nic­i­pal Stream last De­cem­ber, fol­low­ing the con­clu­sion of a sim­i­lar two-year pi­lot pro­gram. Ac­cord­ing to the MTO, the orig--

BY SCOTT CARMICHAEL

Staff The City of Corn­wall has put the brakes on a pro­posed in­ter­com­mu­nity pub­lic trans­porta­tion ser­vice with South Glen­garry, at least for the time be­ing.

Joanne Ha­ley, the town­ship’s gen­eral man­ager of com­mu­nity ser­vices, stated in a staff re­port at a re­cent coun­cil meet­ing, that rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the city in­formed her the pre­vi­ous week that they were no longer fil­ing a half-mil­lion dollar ap­pli­ca­tion to the On­tario gov­ern­ment’s Com­mu­nity Trans­porta­tion Grant Pro­gram-Mu­nic­i­pal Stream “as they felt they would be un­suc­cess­ful.”

How­ever, Mrs. Ha­ley added that the city is “look­ing forward to speak­ing” with the mu­nic­i­pal­ity “in the near fu­ture to de­ter­mine if a tran­sit ser­vice can be provided to the town­ship, sub­ject to bud­get ap­provals and agree­ments.”

The mu­nic­i­pal­ity launched a sur­vey Jan­uary 25 to gauge in­ter­est from its res­i­dents for the pro­posed bus ser­vice, the re­sults of which in­di­cated that back­ing for the project – par­tic­u­larly from those living in Wil­liamstown, Sum­mer­stown, Glen Wal­ter and Mart­in­town – is well-founded.

A to­tal of 250 res­i­dents par­tic­i­pated in the sur­vey, with 178 of those – or 71.2 per cent – stat­ing that they would “strongly sup­port” pub­lic tran­sit in South Glen­garry con­nect­ing to the City of Corn­wall two to three days per week.

Mrs. Ha­ley’s re­port also points out that based on those re­sponses, “the city is agree­able to the pos­si­bil­ity of creating a trans­porta­tion ser­vice to and from Lan­caster, two days per week (sub­ject to fund­ing).”

South Glen­garry pre­vi­ously de­clared its sup­port for the City’s ap­pli­ca­tion, al­beit with a “wait and see” ap­proach, as well as some reser­va­tions about the town­ship’s fi­nan­cial obli­ga­tions to the project – which ini­tially pro­posed a “one to three days tran­sit ser­vice per week,” and only one pas­sen­ger pick-up spot, in Glen Wal­ter.

Corn­wall rep­re­sen­ta­tives es­ti­mated the ini­tial cost of the ser­vice at $130,000 to $150,000 per year, with $100,000 of that to­tal be­ing cov­ered by a suc­cess­ful grant ap­pli­ca­tion. Mrs. Ha­ley ex­plained at the Fe­bru­ary 5 reg­u­lar coun­cil meet­ing that South Glen­garry, “and other com­mu­nity part­ners” would have been on the hook for the bal­ance of be­tween $30,000 and $50,000 – with the town­ship’s share es­ti­mated at $15,000 to $25,000 each year, for five years.

The Min­istry of Trans­porta­tion an­nounced the launch of the new five-year, $30-mil­lion inal ini­tia­tive aimed at de­vel­op­ing com­mu­nity trans­porta­tion “so­lu­tions to ad­dress lo­cal needs,” while the re­cently-un­veiled pro­gram ex­panded on the pi­lot by fund­ing the de­vel­op­ment of in­ter­com­mu­nity bus ser­vices “to link com­mu­ni­ties across coun­ties and re­gions.”

Under the lat­est pro­gram, the max­i­mum in­di­vid­ual grant for lo­cal com­mu­nity trans­porta­tion projects is $500,000 and $1.5 mil­lion for in­ter­com­mu­nity bus projects.

SCOTT CARMICHAEL PHOTO

PLAYIN’ FOR BERT: James Nixon on key­boards and fid­dler Ash­ley Ma­cLeod per­form dur­ing the re­cent “Dig­gin’ for Bert” con­cert and silent auc­tion in Van­kleek Hill. Fridge Full of Emp­ties and Hadrian’s Wall provided fur­ther mu­si­cal en­ter­tain­ment for the...

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