A Campbell River woman says the removal of a bus stop bench is “unacceptable” and goes against the city’s transit plan.
Willow Point resident Darlyne Shane said she wants city council to step in and replace the bench that was removed from the bus stop on Larwood Road, adjacent to the Willow Point Supportive Living facility.
“The current situation is unacceptable,” Shane wrote in a letter to city council.
And, she said removal of the bench flies in the face of the city’s Transit Future Plan which states that, “the youth and elderly populations of Campbell River are of particular importance for transit planning purposes.”
The plan also identifies a need for improvements that include transit shelters and benches at transit stops.
In a letter to Shane dated July 11, Drew Hadfield, the city’s transportation manager, explains that the company that supplies the transit benches removed the bench at the Larwood stop because of a lack of interested advertisers to support the bench.
Hadfield said he has no “spare” benches in the city workyard that could be installed at that location and the supplier “has no plans to relocate a bench at that location.”
At Monday’s council meeting, Mayor Andy Adams questioned whether a call could be put out to community organizations and service groups to see if there is any interest in sponsoring a bench in order “to meet some of these needs.”
Ron Neufeld, the city’s deputy city manager, said that was something the city could “certainly do.”
Shane, in her letter, also suggested the city look at using its memorial bench program to fill in the gaps, similar to what the Town of Banff and the City of Lacombe in Alberta are initiating.
“Campbell River council could amend the City of Campbell River Park Furniture Donation Program Guidelines to allow for the consideration of memorial bench installations at sites that would be utilitarian rather than just scenic,” Shane said.
In Lacombe and Banff, memorial benches will soon be offered at bus stop locations in those communities.
Ross Milnthorp, the city’s general manager of parks, recreation and culture, said that is something the city could consider if someone were to request such a location.
“If citizens come forward and want a memorial bench that’s not in a location in a park or trail, unless it’s a safety issue or some other kind of issue, we’re pretty flexible with those kinds of things.”
In the meantime, Adams said he would leave any possible recommendations or bylaw amendments to city staff.