New bus route considered

The route would cost the city $40,000 per year to operate

The city is considering adding a new bus route that would serve the 16th Avenue/Willis Road area and the Quinsam reserve.

The route would cost the city $40,000 per year to operate and would run six times per day on Monday to Friday, with five trips on Saturdays; no service on Sundays.

The bus loop would begin at the Community Centre and travel up 16th Avenue to the Inland Island Highway, turn right onto Willis and make its way onto the Quinsam reserve (where the Shell gas station is located). The bus would then travel down Nursery Road onto Detweiler, down Highway 28, then back to 16th Avenue and wind up back at the Community Centre.

Coun. Ron Kerr said although the route would not serve the area in between Willis and Petersen Road – an area of concern – the route would still fill a need.

“While it’s not entirely what I hoped for, it is a step in the right way,” Kerr said.

It’s no secret that staff at Palmer Place, a home for adults with disabilities and for women who have fled abuse, would like to see a bus stop closer to its facility on Nikola Road.

Michelle Albrecht, a program coordinator at Plamer Place, told council in October that most of the residents depend on public transit to get around but the closest bus stop is at the corner of Petersen and Willis road – 1.5 kilometres away. She said it’s “a long walk along a narrow, busy and dangerous road, bordered by steep and deep ditches.”

Kerr said for now, establishing a new northern route would be better than nothing.

And it looked like council was heading in that direction at Tuesday’s financial planning meeting. A motion was put on the floor to establish the “Willis-Northern Campbell River” route, however that motion was rescinded after council decided it would prefer to hold off until it could discuss the route with the We Wai Kai First Nation, who live on the Quinsam reserve.

If the route is approved, it would likely not be established by BC Transit until halfway through the year, therefore the city would only have to pay half the cost this year.