Lumby denies handyDart request

Council decided Monday not to proceed with a request from inSite Housing, Hospitality and Health Services

Financial realities have detoured demands for accessible transit for Lumby seniors.

Council decided Monday not to proceed with a request from inSite Housing, Hospitality and Health Services for handyDart transit.

“The cost is very prohibitive,” said Coun. Lori Mindnich.

It’s not known what the exact cost could be, but Greater Vernon’s two electoral areas pay about $22,000 a year each for handyDart.

“That equates to a three per cent tax increase for us,” said Mayor Kevin Acton., adding that the electoral areas are closer to Vernon than his community.

“We already pay a lot per rider for (standard) transit. We support the philosophy of handyDart but we would have a hard time justifying the cost per rider to taxpayers.”

A petition has collected more than 560 names in support of handyDart.

“The need for handyDart services is particularly evident in Lumby for a number of reasons,” said Carole Holmes, president of inSight, which operates the Monashee Mews seniors residence.

“Currently, seniors have few options available to them when they must travel into Vernon to attend important appointments with doctors, specialists and to obtain any number of services not currently available to them locally in Lumby.”

According to Holmes, a round-trip taxi ride to Vernon can cost about $120.

“This is simply not affordable for most seniors and in particular those who are dependent on some form of subsidized income,” she said.

“These services would make a world of difference not just for the residents of Monashee Mews but for the seniors of the village as a whole.”

While the village won’t proceed with handyDart,  Acton says community groups are looking at options to improve transportation services for seniors.

“We explained the costs involved and that the service comes with a significant cost,” he said of inSite’s request.