Regarding the proposed elimination of STC bus routes Eastend to Swift Current and Eastend to Mossbank.
On Oct. 15, a delegation consisting of two of us from Shaunavon, one from Eastend, and one from Gravelbourg, met with Minister McMorris and MLA Wayne Elhard to express the consequences that the cancelling of our STC bus would have to our Southwest residents.
This service has been in continual operation for over 30 years, providing transportation to residents that can no longer drive, along with those that seek medical services in larger cities. It also provides a reliable and efficient freight service, and a loss of this will have a serious effect on our merchants and farmers. The loss of this service will not only effect the merchants and farmers, but will have direct negative implication to the towns and villages that are already struggling to survive.
It seems that the $140,000 saving by eliminating this service to the Southwest is more important to the minister than the wellbeing of those that are in need of medical assistance. He also seems to be putting the wellbeing of the private carrier service ahead of our reliable, efficient service now provided by STC. Remember this government was put in power by many of the rural residents that they are now denying this service to. Our province needs a public transportation system to connect both rural and urban areas.
I also know our mayors in the Southwest, along with the Chamber of Commerce of the various centres and the administrators are very concerned about the government refusal to keep this service for our Southwest area.
I had a letter of support from our local Chamber of Commerce that Minister McMorris refused to accept. This was a real slap in the face.
As for the freight issue, I checked our local STC Depot here in Shaunavon and was informed that on the average 160 parcels per month was handled. How much more than that was handled by the other centres? I don't know, but I'm sure it would be a substantial amount.
Another statement that I found offensive was the Minister's remark that the $140,000 savings by eliminating our bus route could be put to better use, by hiring more nurse practitioners.
I also told the minister that I had the experience of riding our STC bus for several weeks when I was taking Cancer treatments at the Allen Blair Clinic at the Pasqua Hospital in Regina, and had seen first hand the benefit of having this mode of transportation during the very cold winter days. His response was that if more people like me were to use it, this service would probably continue. In other words, is he suggesting that people should have to have a medical conditions in order to keep using this means of transportation?
In closing, I would like to ask all of the concerned residents of our Southwest area to please keep on pressuring this government to reconsider their position by writing letters of objection to:
Minister Don McMorris
Minister of Highways and Minister Responsible for STC
125 Railway St.
Remember, we have unlit Jan. 1, 2014 before the proposed elimination.
Once this valuable service is lost it will be permanent and never be reinstated.
Lawrence Pommier - Shaunavon