450 sign petition to save seniors’ bus

A petition to increase funding and support the transportation bus for High Prairie Golden Age Club was presented to Big Lakes County. Left-right, are petition organizers Glen and Teresa Greene, who stand in front of the bus with Theresa Belcourt.

Richard Froese
South Peace News

A request to Big Lakes County to increase funding for a seniors’ bus service in the area will be further discussed.

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

“Their request has not been very clear,” says Pat Olansky, director of planning and development.

A delegation of the club met with Olansky and Dave McReynolds, interim director of corporate services.

“They presented a petition of 450 names,” Olansky says.

The club will draft a fuller request.

“We agreed they will provide more details and come up with a solid request,” Olansky says.

“Dave and I agreed to table a decision until an updated request has been made.”

Olansky says they can meet with the seniors’ club to further discuss their request.

Annual county funding for the program was cut to $5,000 in 2019 from $10,000.

A seniors’ delegation spoke to council at its regular meeting June 12.

The club is requesting that funding be increased to $12,500 to match the town’s contribution, Olansky notes in her report.

Big Lakes County Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) manager Nicole Hanna also attended the meeting.

Petition organizers Glen and Teresa Greene say the petition drew great support.

“If that funding were reduced, then the service would be taken away,” Glen Greene says.

“The bus gives seniors more freedom to get around and to enjoy life.”

Teresa Greene says the bus provides a great service to seniors who can’t drive or don’t have their own vehicle.

“As seniors, we need that bus,” Greene says.

“We rely on that bus to go to doctor’s appointments, the hospital, going downtown or shopping.”

She says a lot of seniors don’t have family in the area to take them to appointments or shopping.

“We love taking the bus,” Greene says.

Even the ride is worth the experience.

“Sometimes on the bus, we talk to people and make new friends,” Green says.

The petition was launched July 18 shortly after the story appeared in the South Peace News in the print issue June 26.

“Our seniors have worked hard most of their lives and deserve the service of this bus,” the petition says.

Olansky provided figures provided by the seniors’ club that support the use of the bus service.

  • -The bus provides service to 150 seniors a month, four from the county.
  • -All four county users live within 25 km of the town.

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