I was impressed Monday night with Councillor Fraser’s effort to push for a solution to the years-long service shortfall that has become a disgrace in the Queen City. People are missing medical appointments and work because there are no vehicles available to serve their paid ride requests to ParaTransit. Speaking with Jamie, who presented on this problem last year to Council, he’s had to brave snowdrifts in a powered wheelchair that gets stuck easily, when bus service hasn’t been able to serve his trip in both directions. Jamie has had to stay overnight at the General Hospital after being discharged, because there was no way for him to hire someone to drive him home.
The acting deputy mayor used Monday night’s council meeting to introduce a motion which would ask the province to make good on their funding responsibilities for the paratransit program they created.
The province had committed to 50 per-cent of the capital expenditures and 75 per-cent of the operating cost, something the city says hasn’t happened in years.
Fraser says the situation is unacceptable for people who rely on paratransit.
Fraser’s motion to purchase an additional bus for the program and insist the province provides three more with cash for operation was struck down by council.
His colleagues felt backing the province into a corner over the issue could mean they walk away all together.
Councillors voting against the motion should be ashamed of their do-nothing attitudes. If they really feel there’s no more money coming from the province, and chose to spend the money given elsewhere other than on ensuring people with mobility problems have a minimum of dignity and mobility reliability, then they’re essentially saying that people using paratransit don’t really matter.
Meanwhile on cutting consultants used at City Hall, it was seen as a solution by Councillor Hawkins: