Politicians urged to consider public transit as part of big picture

Transit system would help community grow and develop, keep people from leaving.

After reading the EVN article about the possibilities for transit to link Sicamous to other communities, I felt so exasperated I have asked the permission of the Eagle Valley Community Support Society’s board to write my thoughts.

When we became aware that the BC Transit feasibility study was only available at our centres, we printed and got the surveys out to many other places  where we know people gather.

Mayor Trouton, you continue to insist those needing transportation are a tiny percentage, but more than 300 households with a current food bank file, and 1,700 visitors or callers to our centres last year tell us otherwise. Were we supposed to not encourage those we knew needed transportation to fill out the survey? Were we supposed to not try to give an accurate picture of the need? If ensuring we are doing our job is perceived to be somehow suspect, we are in serious trouble as a community.

In the article in last week’s EVN, you, Mayor Trouton, made a statement about people responding to the survey when they may not use the service themselves, but know someone who would. Perhaps you think it odd that people do think of others, and may in fact be willing to pay something for transit in recognition of the fact that it would provide needed support to others?

Thank goodness citizens of Sicamous and Malakwa don’t only think of their own needs, or a heck of a lot of great programs, buildings and services wouldn’t exist for our use.

A strength required to serve your community, no matter your role, is the ability to see the big picture, and with the certain knowledge that all decisions taken impact the whole, the choices made must be based on full examination of their cause and effect. We told you about the regional planning work we and others have been doing and about private, public, social enterprise partnerships, and asked you to look at this from a big-picture, regional view. We said that transportation could serve not only Sicamous and its low-income households without vehicles and seniors who no longer drive, but also the Shuswap, and working people and tourists. Economic development, the chamber staff and the Shuswap Trail Alliance didn’t seem to think it was a crazy idea, but you have made no attempt since March to pursue any discussions and, having now provided your opinion to the newspaper about the study, apparently expect us to simply accept it.

Well, for what it’s worth, here is my opinion. If we don’t stop saying no, and start saying yes to balanced development that asks and uses community input, and seeks to find ways to give citizens the things that will make the community a place they want to stay, we will have no community left to worry about. So, I say to the people of Sicamous as they elect another councillor, and to the people of Malakwa as they vote to support the former school with tax dollars, we need to say YES when raising taxes may keep our communities from dying, we need to say YES to representatives who think in innovative ways about growth and creating sustainability for rural communities, we need to say YES to keeping ourselves better informed, and most of all, we need to say YES to continuing to care about others, for that way lies a future. Those all-important tax dollars won’t mean much when our properties aren’t worth anything because we have allowed our communities to die from short-sightedness.

 

 

Janet McClean Senft

 

 

 

 

 

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