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Pressured Mayor stands by decision

A local taxi company is upset the Mayor is sticking by his decision to support a Comox business’ expansion to Campbell River.

“I think it’s total crap but what am I going to do? Got to try to keep them out of here,” said 287 Taxi office manager Deborah Helme, when she first heard the news.

Mayor Charlie Cornfield signed a letter of support for Comox based Ambassador Shuttle’s proposed expansion from the Comox Valley to Campbell River back in May.

The Passenger Transportation Board approved the expansion at the end of September, which allows the shuttle service to pick up passengers at the Comox Airport and bring them to Campbell River. The application also has a “return clause” which states that the same passengers getting dropped off are allowed to be picked up again by the company, if they arrange the return ride during the original ride.

When 287 Taxi found out the expansion had been approved at the end of September, it also found out about the letter of support signed back in May, and met with Cornfield to urge him to rescind his support in mid-October.

Cornfield said he would think about it, and said this Tuesday afternoon that he would not overturn his support.

“It’s not a big deal. There’s no unfair competition here, nobody’s been given rights over and above what would normally be provided,” said Cornfield. “I’m generally supportive and encouraging of all business opportunities, provided that they work within the regulatory framework.”

However, Helme said the return clause is too loose for comfort.

“With that return clause that gives him the open tune to come into my area,” explained Helme. “He can say that can be prearranged but who’s to say? And yes he’s supposed to keep a log of his trips, who’s to say it was booked before or not?”

While Helme was initially upset with Cornfield’s response, she said it won’t deter her from pushing the Passenger Transportation Board to overturn its decision.

“We’ll just take it in stride and see what happens, I mean who knows, it may all get overturned,” said Helme.

She has until mid-November to apply the Passenger Transportation Board for a reconsideration of the decision, which she plans to do along with Comox Taxi, who is also against the expansion.

 

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