New transit service hits early detour
A proposed transit service between Okanagan Falls and Penticton is already running a month behind schedule to allow the area’s elected official more time to consult with residents.
B.C. Transit has agreed to begin work on a new route for 2014 that would run along Eastside Road between the two communities at either end of Skaha Lake. But Tom Siddon, who represents Area D on the board of the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen, is concerned the route would leave out people on the west side of Skaha Lake, including those in Kaleden.
“I’m not opposed to the Eastside (Road) route… but I have to talk to the people before I agree to something that appears to be discriminatory,” Siddon said at an RDOS committee meeting Thursday at which a memorandum of understanding with B.C. Transit was to be approved.
He suggested an on-call service for Kaleden or a different bus route that loops around Skaha Lake might be better options. The plan that was presented, he added, was based on a consultant’s study that included a public meeting two years ago attended by just 25 people.
“There’s not a strong enough statistical base to warrant spending $67,000, which would be our share for the Eastside bus route, (as) much as I find it desirable, until we get a higher level of buy-in from all the residents of Area D,” Siddon said.
RDOS community service manager Mark Woods noted Kaleden already receives twice-daily service on an Osoyoos Transit route, and that the proposed Eastside Road service was backed by former Area D director Bill Schwarz.
The B.C. Transit memorandum of understanding commits the Crown corporation to providing 1,375 service hours on the route. RDOS chief administrative officer Bill Newell cautioned directors that the offer is probably not open-ended.
B.C. Transit’s regional manager could not be reached for comment Friday.
RDOS directors agreed to table the matter for one month. Siddon said he plans to place an article and questionnaire in a local newsletter in order to gauge public opinion on the matter.