The city is working on a partnership with the We Wai Kai First Nation to provide transit service to the Quinsam reserve.
The new route would service Detweiler Road, Nursery Road, the Quinsam reserve off the Inland Island Highway and a portion of Willis Road.
The area was tagged by city staff while reviewing the city’s Master Transportation Plan which identified gaps in service.
“One area that was seen as being not well-serviced was the western part of Campbell River (Highway 28, west of Highway 19) and the Quinsam reserve,” said Drew Hadfield, the city’s transportation manager, in a report to council. “Staff and BC Transit met with the We Wai Kai band management to discuss their concerns during the (review) process.”
Hadfield said the We Wai Kai are supportive of adding the bus route and are prepared to contribute up to $18,000 a year for the service.
It’s expected to cost $67,000 annually to provide the service.
“Local share (the city) would be $36,000 with an estimated revenue of $4,000,” Hadfield said. “We Wai Kai share and the city’s share would be based on local costs (maximum $18,000 for each party annually) minus the estimated revenue share for this service, to be determined from estimated ridership by BC Transit.”
The proposed route would have seven scheduled trips Monday to Friday that would co-ordinate with the Quadra Island ferry schedule. Weekend service would include five trips a day on Saturday, but no service on Sunday.
In a letter to the city, Brian Kelly, the administrator of the We Wai Kai/Cape Mudge Band said the First Nation would like to see “service begin as soon as possible.”
Hadfield said BC Transit cannot implement the new route until January, 2014 but was recommending council proceed with the service and formalize a cost share agreement with the We Wai Kai. A decision was expected by council at its Tuesday night meeting after the Mirror went to press.
The new route was first supported by council during budget deliberations in January. At the time, Coun. Ron Kerr, who is the council liaison to the We Wai Kai, said he was pleased to get the ball rolling but at the same time, more needs to be done in the Willis area.
“While it’s not entirely what I hoped for, it is a step in the right direction,” said Kerr who has been lobbying for improvements along the Willis/Petersen Road corridor, including a bus stop on Willis Road.
Currently, pedestrians trying to catch the bus, including residents of Palmer Place – some of which have disabilities – have to walk down the narrow shoulder of Willis Road down to the bus stop on Petersen.