City Council has been left holding the bag for some increased transit costs to accommodate a late request from the School District.
It revolves around the relocation of Quesnel Junior Secondary School up to Maple Drive and how Correlieu students and others won’t be able to get downtown to the arena or for work.
City Manager Byron Johnson…
“When asked about how they fill that gap, it was determined that the school bus schedule would need to be adjusted and that more hours, 200 more service hours per year, would have to be added to the transit schedule. Total cost of that is $16,000 a year. That cost is shared by the City and BC Transit. The cost to the City would be 77-hundred per year. In 2018, 25-hundred, because it is only a portion of the year. That amount could be covered by current transit surplus.”
While most on Council voted in favour of the request, because they didn’t want to punish the students, there was some frustration vented over the timing, including from Laurey-Anne Roodenurg…
“We sat down with their Board and laid out a number of concerns, this being one of them in regards to after school activities and how they thought they were going to be able to deal with them. Now we’re in June and they go back to school in September. I am in favour of providing it, i don’t want to be punitive to the children who go up there, it wasn’t their choice, it was because of so many different circumstances, there is no way i would say lets not do this, but i think the school board needs to be able to step up on a more timely basis when we have questions around concerns like this.”
Councillor Scott Elliott felt the same way…
“I’m in favour of the recommendation because i think it’s important that we provide safe transportation for the children of the community of course, but i am frustrated and challenged with how the process has worked. For me when we found out at a public forum what was going to happen at the school, i was slightly disappointed that there was no engagement on a Council level. We could have had in-camera conversations and discussed these things and the implications to the community, but we weren’t sought out.”
In the end, only Councillor Shushil Thapar was opposed as he felt the School Board should pay some of the money moving forward.
Council also voted in favour of requesting a meeting with the School District on how they can move forward on a timely basis with anything else that may come up.