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LV and Pembroke apply for transit grant

By Celina Ip

File photo

File photo

PEMBROKE & LAURENTIAN VALLEY – The Township of Laurentian Valley and the City of Pembroke are hoping to roll out an intercommunity bus service in the coming years.

 

On Feb. 20, during their regular council meetings, Laurentian Valley and the City of Pembroke agreed to partner in an application to the new Community Transportation Grant Program for the establishment of a local intercommunity transit system for all residents.

According to the Ministry of Transportation, their new Community Transportation Grant program aims to fund the development of community transportation solutions to address local transportation needs, including ways to better utilize existing transportation resources.

The grant’s two streams include ‘local community transportation project’ for a single community transportation system and ‘long-distance scheduled intercommunity transportation project’ for a multi-community system. While the first stream would only serve a single community, the latter aims to fund the development of intercommunity bus services to link communities across counties and regions.

The City of Pembroke and the Township of Laurentian Valley have agreed to apply for the intercommunity grant which can provide them with up to $1.5 million over a five-year period. The Town of Petawawa was also contacted but they have decided to pursue a transportation system under the single community grant, with up to $500,000 in funding over the five years.

“It's an offer of $1.5 million over five years, so we're going to join with the City of Pembroke to apply for this grant and see if we could serve our taxpayers with this new transit service,” said Steve Bennett, mayor of Laurentian Valley.

If the two municipalities are successful with their intercommunity grant application, they’ll immediately begin fleshing out the details and with the hope of getting the bus service up and running within a year’s time.

“The City of Pembroke had its own bus service for several years that financially was not sustainable for a small community as far as costs were concerned, but this new inter-municipality program appears to be much more financial viable over the long-term with the two municipalities working together,” said Mike LeMay, mayor of Pembroke. “I’m pleased that our council said ‘let's go ahead with it’ and really pleased that Laurentian Valley is on board as well.”

According to Bennett, the thought is to have a 15 to 20 passenger bus with a set schedule that visits major stops in Pembroke and Laurentian Valley – such as Downtown Pembroke, the Pembroke Mall, Walmart, Home Depot, HGS, Algonquin College and some of the more built-up areas of both City and LV.

“We will work together on a schedule to find what works best and serves our needs equally," said Bennett. “I think more and more people need transportation to go to work and do their shopping.  Certainly I believe there is a need for it today.”

After passing the motion on Feb. 20, both municipalities will be working on the application to have it submitted by the Feb. 28 deadline.

cip@postmedia.com 



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