Kamloops council has nixed an idea to provide seniors free transit use during midday, non-peak times.
Following a lengthy debate on Tuesday, council decided not enough information was known to make a decision.
“We need to be intentional when we make these decisions,” Coun. Sadie Hunter said.
The idea was one of former councillor Donovan Cavers’ so-called ghost motions. Cavers filed 11 notices of motion at his final council meeting last October, with each notice of motion to be introduced monthly. Cavers failed in his bid for re-election in the Oct. 21 civic election.
Hunter said she did not think Cavers’ suggestion was a bad idea, but she suggested council did not have enough information to make an informed decision.
Questions posed by council included: Could other demographics, such as youth, benefit from free transit? How would it impact the recently approved budget? How would the service be monitored? Could it create problems for bus drivers? Would it align with BC Transit?
The city’s corporate services director, Kathy Humphrey, said there would “definitely be” an impact to the budget and she suggested the idea could be considered during next year’s budget cycle.
Coun. Bill Sarai said seniors deserve a break, but conceded he would support a similar initiative for youth. He suggested the issue be taken back to the committee level for further hashing out, given the little information available and questions posed by councillors
However, he could only get two other councillors on his side, with the vote to refer the issue failing by a vote of 6-3. Councillors Sarai, Dale Bass and Denis Walsh voted in support of the motion, while Mayor Ken Christian and councillors Dieter Dudy, Hunter, Mike O’Reilly, Kathy Sinclair and Arjun Singh were opposed.
Walsh argued it was a “very good idea” that needed more research. Bass noted there was no timeline for implementation, adding she did not want to see the idea die.
“I just think that it’s the right thing to do,” Walsh said.
Christian, however, noted the issue was not identified during council’s strategic planning, while Sinclair said the city’s new recently approved ARCH program will provide subsidized transit to low-income individuals.
A second vote, on Cavers’ motion to implement the service, was rejected unanimously by council.