By Kathy Bly
For the Sunny South News
It took a little debate around the council table but the Town of Picture Butte will be picking up the insurance for the community bus for the next two years.
A request to cover the insurance for the Picture Butte community bus was approved by council at the Apr. 27 meeting. The request came from the Picture Butte and District Transportation Society, which operates the bus with volunteer drivers and board members.
In the past, the town held ownership of the bus and covered the insurance but with the purchase of a new bus, the ownership now resides with the society.
Mayor Wendy Jones said she felt it was reasonable for the town to approve the request, which amounts to about $1,000 a year, because it provides a valuable service to Picture Butte residents.
“But how does it fit into your overall policy,” questioned Larry Davidson, chief administrative officer.
“I don’t believe the town should be paying for their insurance,” said Coun. Cathy Moore.
She noted if the society can purchase a new bus it should be able to cover the insurance.
“If they can afford to pay for it (a new bus) they should be able to pay for it themselves,” she said.
Mayor Jones said the society fundraised to purchase the new bus and she believes it is a huge asset to the town and makes for an affordable means of transportation for local seniors.
Davidson suggested if council wanted to cover the insurance they do so for two years to give the society a chance to plan for the future and to also take the issue to the end of the current council term.
Moore noted council already told the society when it took ownership of the new bus it would be responsible for paying the insurance.
Deputy Mayor Joe Watson, who represents the town on the Walk on the Wild Side Society (WOWS), indicated there may be other groups such as WOWS who may bring the same request to council in the future. He indicated this may be an issue when the walking trail, which is currently only on LNID land, expands into the community.
“This is a core service for our seniors,” Jones said of the community bus.
Coun. Teresa Feist said it is a service for the town and Coun. Henry de Kok added the town covers the insurance for the volunteer firefighters.
Following the debate a motion for the town to cover the community bus insurance for two years was approved by council.