After dealing with a broken down rental and a three-hour wait for help, one Squamish resident says it’s time the Squamish Seniors Centre got its own bus.
Two weeks ago Donna Pederson, along with a group of seniors, were on a trip organized by the municipally funded Squamish Seniors Centre to West Vancouver when the rented mini-bus blew a tire. The driver managed to steer the vehicle to a pullout near Windy Point. But what ensued was no joy ride.
“We were three hours there in the blazing sun. Some people have a lot of health problems,” Pederson said. “If it had been a bus full of children, there would have been an outcry.”
Most senior centres have their own buses, she said. Not only would having one increase safety — the last bus had no room for walkers, Pederson noted — but it may lead to more excursions and seniors signing up for them, she said.
The Squamish Seniors’ Centre Society is looking into getting a bus, society vice president Harold Wilson said. Without a clear plan to secure transport, it’s difficult to say how the vehicle would be operated and what it would be used for, he noted.
The district’s recreation services rented a bus this summer primarily for summer camps, District of Squamish spokesperson Christina Moore wrote in an email to The Chief. It was also used to enhance seniors’ programming, she wrote, noting the unfortunate incident.
Securing a year-round bus for recreation services to provide ongoing seniors programming options, as well as other groups, was discussed through the 2013 budget process, but funding was not available, Moore said.
One possible alternative, which has proven successful in other communities, is to leverage partnerships and donations from local groups to help make leasing or purchasing a bus possible, Moore noted.