Busing program facing dim future

Richard Froese
South Peace News

A bus service to transport seniors in the High Prairie area could be off the road soon without funding from Big Lakes County.

At its regular meeting Feb. 12, county council heard a plea from the High Prairie Golden Age Club.

“We want the county to fund the bus service,” says Howard Greer, who chairs the transportation committee and spoke as a delegation.

“We request $44,500.”

That’s the bottom line in the budget to operate the bus, he says.

“If we don’t get the funding, we will have to discontinue the bus service,” Greer says.

“We’re done at the end of the month if we don’t get funding.”

Last year, Big Lakes provided the society with an annual transportation grant of $5,000, which was cut from $10,500 allocated in previous year, according to Health Nanninga, director of corporate services.

The seniors’ club is committed to maintain the service valued by riders.

“We have a strong desire to continue the service,” Greer says.

“We have a lot of seniors in the community and for many of them, the bus is their only means of transportation.”

He says 75 per cent of riders on the bus have their roots in the county, even though many of them are residents of Pleasantview Lodge in High Prairie.

Big Lakes will further study the matter.

“We will review it and let you know,” Reeve Richard Simard says.

At its regular meeting Aug. 14, council approved a recommendation to postpone a request to increase funding to the High Prairie Golden Age Club until 2020.

Last August, the county received a petition with 450 signatures organized by Glen and Teresa Greene supporting the service.

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