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Gaming revenue might help to build three bus shelters in Courtenay

The City of Courtenay will look at using gaming revenue to construct three new bus shelters in the coming year.
Council received a report last week summarizing the work of the city's Bus Shelter Task Force, which recommends building new shelters at the Driftwood Mall, Walmart and the Courtenay and District Museum.
BC Transit is implementing a bus shelter program this April that cost-shares shelter costs — capital and installation — with municipalities, according to the report from Kevin Lagan, Courtenay’s director of operational services.
While the final details of the cost-sharing formula are still being worked out, it appears it will be 53 per cent municipalities and 47 per cent BC Transit, with the municipality paying 100 per cent of the cost of concrete pads. Developers and private property owners would be eligible to purchase shelters directly from BC Transit.
A list of high-priority locations for shelter installations has been compiled, and the top three priorities are the Driftwood Mall, Walmart and the current terminus location at the museum.
The task force recommends the City consider committing to a three-year implementation program that includes the installation of three shelters per year, beginning with the top three shelters for 2011.
The cost to the city in 2011 could be up to $37,440 for three shelters and three concrete bases.
“This amount may be less depending on Comox Valley Regional District (CVRD) involvement,” noted Lagan. “Once the amount of the funding is established, the monies for the capital work should be from gaming revenue, and operation and maintenance from the roads and street operating budget.”
Council was happy to move forward on providing bus shelters.
"It's been unfortunately a rather lengthy process, but we feel, in the end, we've come up with a good recommendation," said Mayor Greg Phelps.
Coun. Doug Hillian has been pushing for the city to find a way to provide bus shelters for a while.
"I've been somewhat critical of our movement on this, certainly not directed at anyone individually, but that we've gone two winters without bus shelters," he said. "I'm particularly concerned for the elderly and people with disabilities ... for their dignity and well-being."
Hillian was happy to see a recommendation to build bus shelters this year and to also ensure an ongoing program.
"Hopefully the fact that we've waited has enabled a more comprehensive plan to come about," he said. "Despite concerns about the length of time it's taken, I'm very grateful for the work that was done."
Coun. Murray Presley wanted to see the city how vandalism-resistant a shelter is over the cost because it might be cheaper in the long run.
"If we're building three, let's maybe build three different ones and see which holds up best," he said.
Coun. Ronna-Rae Leonard felt the fact that the shelters will be cost-shared spoke to the issue of downloading of costs, noting there has been criticism that BC Transit has not been properly funded by the provincial government.
Vandalism has been a major concern for the city in previously installed bus shelters, noted Lagan.
“Glass breakages, fire and removal of garbage and human waste has been an ongoing problem at the museum shelter,” he wrote. "Other shelter sites such as opposite the Filberg Centre have been removed due to constant vandalism and destruction.”
writer@comoxvalleyrecord.com

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