VIDEO - Cornwall residents pressure council on transit

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Close to 20 residents show up to support re-opening the debate after council recently voted to pull out of the transit system

By Erin McCabe - The Guardian

Cornwall Town Council heard a presentation Wednesday from residents opposing a decision to bow out of a transit agreement with the City of Charlottetown, the Town of Stratford and Trius Transit.

Linda Bain, Ian Morse, Andy Webster and Yolanda Bulman each spoke to the council about why the transit system should be reconsidered.

"It certainly is not our intention to argue about the situation," said Morse at the beginning of his speech, "We understand the price is quite high for the agreement, and for the number of people on the bus. All that's quite clear."

Morse says there is room for transit however, which he says is shown by the 60-80 fares per day.

"At one point it was quite busy, the second run in the morning was basically standing room only, with students and U.P.E.I. students," he says.

Linda Bain presented the surveys she collected to Mayor Glen Fullerton, saying that out of around 150 she sent out, she received a total of 93 back.

"My purpose of doing this was just to bring it up again," she said.

Though the council did not discuss the transit issue following the presentation, it was brought up again during the meeting by Coun. Marlene Hunt.

"I'm hoping that Council will reconsider and keep transit going, "said Hunt, "It's a necessity in the 21st century."

She also said in regard to the parks and recreation budget and expenditures, that some of that money could be allotted more equitably to all facets of the town.

"I think we can be a bit more fair in what we give money to and include everything, because we have so much to offer, and that would include transit."

The presenters recognized the transit system's low ridership numbers and said more work needed to be done to promote and market the system.

"The benefit of working through the slow adoption of the bus," said Bulman, "is so we can be connected to the greater Charlottetown area, and it's worth it."

Bulman outlined some possible fixes to some of the issues of the system, such as fewer runs, a shorter bus route, and three to five bus shelters the community could build.

Not all of the meeting's attendees were in support of the transit system. A man in attendance was "totally against" the transit system, citing pollution as a main reason.

Deputy Mayor Corey Frizzell brought to the council's attention a couple of emails that residents have sent him that say that they have nothing against transit in general, but it just isn't a viable option for Cornwall.

"It is not economically viable or sensible as tens and/or hundreds of thousands of our tax dollars is spent on something history shows is used by few and not able to support itself," Frizzell read from one email.

Members of the public came and went throughout the presentation and meeting, but numbered close to 20. After the transit presentation finished, Mayor Fullerton said that those who wished to could leave, though most stayed for the rest of the meeting.

Organizations: Cornwall Town Council

Geographic location: Cornwall, Charlottetown, Stratford

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Recent comments

  • The Observer from Stratford
    April 18, 2014 - 09:44

    The Deputy Mayor of Cornwall obviously does not seem to realize that public transit never makes a profit anywhere. It is always heavily subsidized even in big cities such as Toronto. What makes it desirable is that it adds to the quality of life of the city by providing a relatively inexpensive (to the user) way to get around. Cornwall needs to think beyond their person+car culture and realize that transit will attract more residents to the town (i.e. increase the number of taxpayers). They say that they want to grow their town but then they take away one of the factors that would entice some people to settle in it. Seems to me they're sending confused mixed messages.

  • Michael
    April 17, 2014 - 19:10

    Use is the most effective pressure. It's not council that has to be convinced, it's folk who are wasting money on second vehicles and running all over the place, individually, in those vehicles: mass transit is cheaper and reduces pressure on the roadways. Just do it.

  • J. Ambrose
    April 17, 2014 - 07:54

    Further discussion occurred after the meeting as well. People in the gallery including myself continued discussion with several council members. Supports of transit recognize that the contract with Trius had to end and that the current situation was not financially feasible or environmentally friendly. What we hope won't happen is that transit is dropped entirely. A suggestion was made to strike a committee to brainstorm with councilors towards coming up with a more feasible solution. Hopefully a solution can be found, many people cannot afford a vehicle or a 2nd vehicle, money is so tight these days for everyone and parking is expensive & challenging to find downtown.