24 Nov Bus recision motion stalls council plans
Plans to bring community bus services back to Canterbury City have stalled after a group of councilors branded the scheme a waste of money.
Liberal councilor Michael Hawatt, Independent councilor Carlo Favorito and Unity councilor Joshua Nam launched a recision motion after the council adopted the plan on November 11.
The recision motion will now have to be addressed at the next council meeting tomorrow night (November 25).
Cr Hawatt said the action was taken because he felt, along with Cr Nam and Cr Favorito, that the council had made the wrong decision.
“We are trying to save money and every cent is important,” Cr Hawatt said. “Twenty five thousand dollars is not chicken feed and will have to be found somewhere.
“We got rid of the service in Canterbury years ago and now they want to reintroduce it because of one councilor.”
The revival of community transport comes 8 years after the council withdrew public access to its buses. One of the buses was sold and the remaining two vehicles were kept for private council use.
Councillor Hawatt said there were upset residents who have been donating their time and bus services for years at no charge to help disabled and elderly residents.
“If the council was serious about this issue they would have done something about it years ago to show support for these people.”
The new plan is called the Canterbury City Bus Brokerage service and is designed to improve non-profit agency and disadvantaged groups access to existing bus services.
The council had voted to allocated $25,000 a year for a part time project worker to organize community access to existing buses and a $10,000 start-up grant.
The recision motion will restart the debate, but it is possible the plan will still be adopted as it has the backing of council’s majority Labor councilors.
Councillor Saleh, who first raised the motion, believes the plan answers a serious community need and is anything but a waste of money.
“Our community has many frail, disabled and senior citizens who need community transport,” Cr Saleh said.
“These residents need to visit doctors, hospital, go shopping or even occasionally go on an outing.
My duty as a councilor is to represent residents and respond to their needs and the needs of the community.”