West Kootenay transit to get funding increase for 2017

Where the new transit money will be spent is still unknown.

West Kootenay transit will be getting provincial money to upgrade routes for 2017. But where it will be spent is still unknown.

The provincial government has changed its mind in a good way, transit advocates might say.

It’s decided to give $12.7-million to BC transit systems over three years starting in 2017, backtracking from a three-year moratorium on such funding announced last year.

How much the West Kootenay will get is unknown, but over the past year the regional transit committee has received requests, from citizens and local politicians, for improvements or enhancements to the following routes: Nelson-Castlegar, Nelson-Slocan, North Shore, Blewett, NakuspNelson health connection, KasloNelson health connection, SalmoNelson health connection, KasloTrail health connection, and the reinstatement of the Perrier/Ymir Rd. service.

The transit committee consists of elected representatives from the regional districts of Kootenay Boundary and Central Kootenay (see member list below). BC Transit, a provincial crown agency responsible for coordinating the delivery of public transportation in BC outside of Vancouver, operates 83 transit systems across the province.

According to the RDCK’s Randy Matheson, the decision-making process is as follows:

1. The transit committee gives its wish-list to BC Transit. That’s already done, and the list is outlined above.

2. BC Transit assigns an estimated cost to each item, along with an estimated local tax increase required to fund it, and sends the list back to the committee. This has also already been done. Matheson said the estimated tax increases for the various requests range from 1.5 per cent to nine per cent, depending on many factors including whether it would be necessary to purchase a new bus.

3. The transit committee will prioritize the list by deciding what it wants to pay for and what the greatest transit needs are, and send it back to BC Transit by mid-June.

4. BC Transit decides which changes can be implemented by 2017.

The transit enhancements would potentially involve a tax increase for residents because all transit costs in BC are split 50-50 between BC Transit and local governments, who fund their half through fare revenues and taxation.

Matheson says it is impossible to predict how much the West Kootenay will get.

“BC Transit may come back and say you can’t have any of it, or they might say you can have it all,” he says. “It depends on how many transit hours they have available, and how many areas [across BC] want to expand.”

In 2013, BC transit and the local transit committee amalgamated nine transit systems in the West Kootenay into three, in which all fares and schedules from Kaslo to Trail and within each municipality were coordinated.

Asked this week for recent ridership stats for the West Kootenay and whether they have increased since the amalgamation of routes, BC Transit’s Daniel Pizarro said “We will be providing ridership stats to local governments in the near future at which time they will be made available publicly. I can tell you there have been increases in all three systems in the West Kootenay since the service integration.”

The members of the regional transit committee are Castlegar mayor Lawrence Chernoff (chair), Salmo mayor Stephen White, Silverton councillor Leah Main, Nelson councillor Valerie Warmington, Fruitvale mayor Patricia Cecchini, Montrose mayor Joe Danchuk, and RDKB Area B director Linda Worley.

 

Just Posted

Police investigating man’s death in Winlaw

Foul play not established, but major crimes unit is investigating

Laura Sacks wins Suzy Hamilton Legacy Award

Sacks is the second recipient of the award supporting women environmental activists

Tickets sales launched for Elephant Mountain Festival

The event runs July 11 to 14 in Nelson

New Nelson at its Best initiative offers connections for parents

U-Time Cafés take place every Wednesday at Rosemont School

Woman raising funds to save historic Rossland piano

Rare Steinway piano was in Miners Hall for a century, but was headed to the dump

600 new campsites coming to provincial parks and recreation sites across B.C.

Tourism Minister announced half of the new spots to 13 most popular provincial parks

Raptors beat Bucks 105-99 to move within 1 game of NBA Finals

Leonard scores 35 as Toronto takes 3-2 series lead over Milwaukee

Municipalities protest after B.C. declares marijuana crops ‘farm use’

UBCM president seeks answers in letter to John Horgan government

CMHC defends mortgage stress test changes amid calls for loosening rules

Uninsured borrowers must now show they could service their mortgage if rates rose two per cent

B.C. woman left ‘black and blue’ after being pushed off 40-foot cliff at lake

West Shore RCMP looking for witnesses as investigation continues

Grand Forks woman assaulted in home invasion

The incident took place Wednesday morning

Kootenay youth substance use trending downward: survey

A bi-annual survey distributed to regional schools shows that youth substance use is decreasing

Thunderstorms to bring heavy rain, risk of flash floods in the southern Interior

Ten to 30 millimetres of rain to fall over the early weekend

Unbe-leaf-able: Agassiz man finds more than 200 four-leaf clovers in a month

Walt Hardinge has found more than 219 four-or-more leaf clovers this spring alone

Most Read