North Beaver Bank fighting to restore transit route
Beaver Bank residents hope that city hall will listen to their concerns
December 5, 2019, 1:31 pm ASTLast Updated: December 5, 2019, 1:31 pm
North Beaver Bank lost its bus route last week, but resident Lyle Mailman is hopeful the community can work something out with the city.
“We may have a sentiment that it’s too little too late, but if we have people, faces present, put the pressure on, share the message … I guess it takes a little bit of faith,” he said.
Mailman, who runs the community Facebook page Beaver Bank Community Watch, spoke at a meeting Wednesday at the Beaver Bank Kinsac Community Centre.
Over 50 people attended the meeting, which was organized to prepare residents for a transportation standing committee meeting at city hall on Dec. 12. Residents plan to speak to committee members, explaining how the loss of the bus has affected them.
“We need to let them know that it’s not OK to take the bus away,” said Mailman.
Mailman believes Halifax Transit makes a lot of decisions “with their heads, not their hearts.”
On Nov. 25, Halifax Transit eliminated the route 400, which travelled from Sackville terminal to Ivy Meadows, a retirement home in North Beaver Bank. The route was replaced by the 86 and express route 186, as part of the latest phase of the Moving Forward Together Plan. The new routes stop at the community centre, shortening the route by 6.6 kilometres.
The shortening of the route came a year earlier than planned due to software updates to the buses, which allowed the change to be fast-tracked.
Community members with cars, such as local business owner Maureen Fedorus, co-ordinated rides for North Beaver Bank residents who wanted to attend Wednesday’s meeting but had no way to get there.
“It’s really creating a divide between our community of North and South Beaver Bank,” Fedorus said. “Those people that are most affected actually can’t get to the meeting unless we pull together as a community.”
Members of the Amalgamated Transit Union, which represents transit workers, also attended the meeting.
President of the local union, Ken Wilson, told the crowd about how the urban transit boundary has affected rural communities and he expressed his frustration on behalf of the community.
“We’ve been concerned about the Moving Forward Together Plan since conception,” he said. “We definitely don’t support the loss of any bus service in any community.”
The councillor for the area, Lisa Blackburn, wasn’t at the meeting, but she sent a message expressing her disappointment with the loss of the bus route.
“If I had the ability to demand the route be maintained, it would have been done long ago,” she said in an email, which Mailman read aloud. “Sadly, my powers are limited.”
Blackburn said she’s looking at alternate modes of transportation for the community.
Mailman knows that the committee meeting on Thursday won’t be the only meeting the community will have to have with the city.
“We’re going to have to keep the pressure on,” he said.
“South, North … we’re Beaver Bank. We need a bus. We need it for all of us.”
Have a story idea? Let us know