City backs new tran­sit ser­vice to Sel­wyn

But two res­i­dents tell coun­cil the city should not be adding more fos­sil fuel-burn­ing buses

The Peterborough Examiner - - LOCAL - JOELLE KOVACH EX­AM­INER STAFF WRITER joelle.kovach @pe­ter­bor­ough­daily.com

A new public tran­sit ser­vice to Lakefield, Curve Lake, En­nis­more and Bridgenort­h will be starting next spring or sum­mer as a three-year pi­lot project, over the ob­jec­tions of two ci­ti­zens.

Graeme Marrs and Dr. Ken Ran­ney, the can­di­date for the Stop Cli­mate Change party in the re­cent fed­eral elec­tion, both asked coun­cil not to start the tran­sit pro­gram be­cause it would use fos­sil fuel-burn­ing buses.

Ran­ney — a med­i­cal doc­tor and pathol­o­gist — said diesel fuel is cancer-pro­duc­ing and that kids liv­ing on busy streets are six times more likely to de­velop cancer.

Marrs urged coun­cil not to add more buses on the road “that sci­en­tists say are caus­ing our own ex­tinc­tion.”

But coun­cil gave fi­nal ap­proval to the plan at a meet­ing Mon­day.

A 15-pas­sen­ger city tran­sit bus will be used on week­days. A provin­cial gov­ern­ment grant of $1.48 mil­lion has been given to Sel­wyn Town­ship to op­er­ate the ser­vice.

It could be pop­u­lar: there’s cur­rently no bus ser­vice be­tween Peter­bor­ough and Sel­wyn Town­ship and a city staff re­port es­ti­mates 20,000 rides in the first year of the new ser­vice.

Although the re­port es­ti­mates the ser­vice would cost the city $360,800 to op­er­ate in its first year, that cost would be more than off­set by con­tract and fare rev­enue — it’s ex­pected to turn an an­nual profit of about $33,200.

Mean­while, coun­cil also voted Mon­day to buy four new 15-seat buses: two for the Sel­wyn routes, and two for the ex­ist­ing mu­nic­i­pal Com­mu­nity bus ser­vice. The city, provin­cial and fed­eral gov­ern­ment can split the cost to buy four 15-pas­sen­ger buses un­der the new In­vest­ing in Canada In­fra­struc­ture Pro­gram, ac­cord­ing to a city staff re­port.

The to­tal cost would be $800,000, but the city’s share would be $213,360 — and coun­cil plans to dip into the city’s tran­sit re­serve fund for that money.

Also on Mon­day’s agenda:

Home­less shel­ter beds

A new shel­ter for the home­less will be set up this win­ter in the din­ing hall at Murray Street Bap­tist Church this win­ter, with peo­ple from the Brock Mis­sion as staff.

City coun­cil gave fi­nal ap­proval to the new plan to fund the pro­gram at Murray Street on a trial ba­sis from Jan­uary to April.

The plan car­ried with no coun­cil de­bate, and no del­e­ga­tions from any ci­ti­zens.

The now-de­funct Warming Room emer­gency shel­ter pre­vi­ously oc­cu­pied the lower level of Murray Street Bap­tist Church; the con­gre­ga­tion closed the lower level for ren­o­va­tions on July 1.

Op­er­at­ing the new pro­gram in the church’s din­ing hall is ex­pected to cost $248,400 for a year.

While that’s more than the $161,000 the city bud­geted for emer­gency cots this year, the staff re­port states the idea is for the shel­ter staff to be paid to try to house peo­ple per­ma­nently.

Mean­while an ar­chi­tect’s re­port rec­om­mends $80,000 in work re­quired to the din­ing room at Murray Street Bap­tist Church so it can serve as a safe overnight dor­mi­tory. Coun­cil also voted Mon­day to have the city bear those ren­o­va­tion costs.

Be­cause the din­ing hall is about to un­dergo con­struc­tion, the space won’t likely be ready by Nov. 1.

In the mean­time the cots for the home­less in the au­di­to­rium of the Peter­bor­ough Public Li­brary may con­tinue to be of­fered, states the city staff re­port states.

Satel­lite po­lice sta­tion

Coun­cil voted a fi­nal time to spend more than dou­ble its orig­i­nal bud­get to set up a small of­fice for Peter­bor­ough Po­lice in the down­town Peter­bor­ough Tran­sit ter­mi­nal: in­stead of $50,000, the of­fice is now ex­pected to cost $116,000.

The pre­vi­ous city coun­cil ap­proved a plan in Septem­ber 2018 to con­vert an un­used com­mer­cial space at the tran­sit sta­tion on Sim­coe Street into an of­fice for po­lice.

The idea was to have a satel­lite of­fice, staffed spo­rad­i­cally by po­lice, to in­crease se­cu­rity at the tran­sit ter­mi­nal, which sees roughly 13 po­lice calls monthly.

A city staff re­port from 2018 es­ti­mated the cost to con­vert the space at $50,000 — but now the cost has bal­looned to $116,000, which is $66,000 more than planned.

Coun­cil­lors plan to take the ad­di­tional $66,000 from a $100,000 fund in the city’s bud­get for re­place­ment of var­i­ous floor­ing in the Peter­bor­ough Po­lice sta­tion on Wa­ter Street.

Con­struc­tion could start soon by Mort­lock Con­struc­tion and be com­pleted by Jan­uary.

Down­town park­ing

Coun­cil voted a fi­nal time to of­fer two hours of free park­ing every­where down­town on Fri­days in Novem­ber.

It means two hours of free park­ing on Nov. 1, 8, 15 and 22 (which cov­ers Black Fri­day and other pre-Christ­mas sales).

Coun­cil also voted a fi­nal time to set a two-hour limit on park­ing in the new lot at Li­brary Com­mons at Aylmer and Sim­coe Streets.

CLIF­FORD SKARST­EDT EX­AM­INER FILE PHOTO

The Peter­bor­ough Lakefield Line Run bus ser­vice ended in March 2015. A new public tran­sit ser­vice to Lakefield, Curve Lake, En­nis­more and Bridgenort­h will be starting next spring or sum­mer as a three-year pi­lot project, over the ob­jec­tions of two ci­ti­zens.

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