Bus service stalled – for now
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.
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...