By Craig Westcott / September 29, 2023 Edition
Holyrood Mayor Gary Goobie says he wants to clear up some confusion about the two electric buses the Town is getting from Ottawa.
Goobie reminded his colleagues at the start of last week’s public council meeting that Ottawa had awarded Holyrood some $482,000 towards the cost of a $602,000 “rural transportation program” this past spring.
“The remaining monies, $120,000, which were referenced in the recent article of The Shoreline, are the responsibility of the Town of Holyrood,” he said. “The Town is now working with other funding opportunities and community partners to raise that money. It’s not a budget item for the Town. At the funding announcement (back in April), the Town stated the first step after the initial announcement will be to work with funding partners to develop an operational plan moving forward, making sure that it’s feasible for the Town and for the sustainability of the project moving forward. We will remain committed to this goal.”
Goobie noted Holyrood recently secured $55,000 from the provincial government to hire a consultant to identify the costs associated with all aspects of operating the system “from insurance requirements to users, routes, drivers, daily operations, partnership, as well as funding and revenues.”
Goobie said he needed to make the clarification because of a news story in the paper last month.
“They weren’t incorrect, but they took that release that was put out from the federal government which said that the Town would be responsible for $120,000,” said the mayor. “During a few meetings ago, I indicated we’re not going to put this on the backs of the taxpayers of the community, that we will find opportunities and funding to offset, or absorb that $120,000.”
When Avalon MP Ken McDonald announced the funding during a press conference in Holyrood in April, he specified Ottawa’s share would cover the cost of buying two accessible, zero-emission 18-seat electric busses, a charging station, solar panels, and booking software for the Town. “Securing this funding will mean the Town of Holyrood is one of the first, if not the first, rural community in this province to secure an electric public transit system,” said McDonald. “This new transit service will fill an existing gap in the community’s local transit needs.”