Coaldale Handi-Ride to continue operating PDF Print
Local Content - Local News
Written by Hayley Tanner   
Tuesday, 07 August 2012 21:22

Thanks to the support of local businesses in Coaldale, the Handi-Ride will continue to serve the town and its many senior citizens.
The Association, headed by Alex Hann and Leonard Fast, approached town council almost two months ago, asking for an increase in operational support from $2,000 to $3,000 a month.
Council decided two weeks later to maintain the amount of support given to the Association, causing the Association to consider disbanding.
“We have had a lot of people call and ask how they will get around after reading previous articles in the paper,” explained Fast. “It created quite a bit of awareness for the Handi-Ride in the community.”
After the citizens of Coaldale spoke out, voicing their comments of concern and support to Fast, a commitment of operational support came from the Campbell Clinic.
“Campbell Clinic contacted us last week and said they were prepared to pick up the operational funding for a year,” said Fast. “We have also had some other individuals and businesses phone us and see what we need.”
Among those individuals was the Coaldale Bottle Depot, who reached out to the Association as well. Stating that they were prepared to support the Handi-Ride as well.
“We will be operating the Handi-Ride again,” said Fast. “As soon as we get a new bus, we will be back on the road.”
Fast added that he hopes the service will be rolling again by the end of August, a lot of which depends on how quickly the Association receives the funds.
The anticipated cost for a new bus will be somewhere in the neighbourhood of $50,000-$55,000, says Fast. After looking at the cost of fixing the newer of the two buses, which would cost $8,000-$9,000, the question becomes which is more economically feasible.
“The questions is do you spend that to fix up an old bus when the money would be better spent acquiring a new one,” questioned Fast. “With the offers that have been made by the people and groups in this community, a new bus is the way to go.”
The response received from the community for not only operational funding, but capital as well has been described as “uplifting.”
“We are very hopeful and very positive in terms of the Handi-Ride,” says Fast. “We have two excellent drivers, Tracy Dow and Gerry Virginillo, who go beyond what is required for our Association.”
The drivers, who have remained on board since the second bus broke down in May, are  prepared to pick up where they left off, says Fast.
“They have been extremely supportive and want to get back at it as soon as possible,” he said.
After speaking with the mayor, Fast says Craig plans to be at most, if not all, of the Association’s meetings in the future.
Anyone interested in donating to the cost of a new bus for the Handi-Ride Association can contact Leonard Fast at 403-345-4415, or Dixie McCarley at 403-345-2358.



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