(This is the letter that was sent this past week to the Highway Traffic Board.)
I am the chairman of the Victoria’s Quilts Canada – Climax Branch. Victoria’s Quilts is a national charitable organization and our mission is to provide a quilt to anyone presently fighting cancer. Each province looks after itself. We are a growing organization and this last year provided 247 quilts to cancer patients in need. Three years ago when the branch was started in this province, 59 quilts were sent out and so far this year I have already sent out 64.
To provide these quilts we do major fundraisers to buy the supplies and send the quilts where needed. We have ‘Friends Groups’ around the province making these quilts for us. When these quilts are made they are shipped back to us by bus. STC bus.
I do not live in Climax, but 37 miles to the west, and I am also the quilt request coordinator and I am the one who sends the quilts to where they are needed, therefore all quilts get sent back to me. They come by the STC bus to Charlie’s Lunch in Eastend, as this is only 37 miles to my northeast.
We have found this to be the most effective and cost efficient way of doing this. A large box containing 10 quilts costs just over $15. When dealing with donated funds, we have to be very careful on how they are spent. A box containing only four quilts was just mailed to me at a cost of $18.95. I have no idea what it would cost sending them by an optional courier as I know this is a far more expensive way to get the quilts. More costs to send them out may mean less quilts will go out to where they are needed to provide comfort and warmth.
We, as a committee, find it rather strange that you are only going to save approximately $100,000 on each bus line and this is the cause you think justifiable to end the service. It seems to me that costs to us, the consumer, should have been increasing a little each year to prevent this shortfall that you now find you have.
This bus provides an extremely important function in the communities that have no other public transportation and we are already penalized in many ways for being so far away from major services. It is our main link to these services if we do not drive for any reason. It is also an important way of moving freight needed from Swift Current quickly - so useful for us farmers.
I would very much like you to explain how we are going to get our quilts back from all around the province at a reasonable cost if the bus is no longer an option, please. Maybe (hopefully) you would like to donate a large amount to us to cover the added expense. The donation is entitled to a tax receipt that is provided from our National office in Ottawa.
I sincerely hope that you reconsider your decision and keep this vital link for our communities.