By Chad Ingram
Published May 3 2018
Haliburton County councillors would like to hear a presentation from Bancroft Community Transit about some of its plans for the area.
A representative from the group visited Highlands East council in March requesting support for a community transportation grant from the MTO.
According to a report from Haliburton County planner Charlsey White the application proposes using $500000 over five years for a transit service in the municipality that would include service between Wilberforce and Bancroft and Gooderham and Bancroft. White’s report indicated that Bancroft Community Transit had further plans to connect to Haliburton Village and Minden and in an easterly direction Belleville and Kingston.
A transportation task force in the county once included a representative from TROUT The Rural Overland Utility Transit a system that operated in and around Bancroft beginning in 2010. However as White explained to members of Haliburton County council during an April 25 meeting TROUT has been absorbed into Bancroft Community Transit.
“There was kind of a disconnect between what the county is proposing to do and what Bancroft is now proposing to do” White told councillors. Council included $50000 in the 2018 budget for the creation of a transit implementation plan for the county.
Municipalities receive gas tax funding from the province which can be used to fund transportation projects. The quagmire for Highlands East council to avoid double-dipping on the gas tax funding is to choose between the system being proposed by the Bancroft group and the one that will be created in Haliburton County.
“Our concern was that are we going to compete with the Haliburton one and you know I didn’t want to do anything to compromise that” said Highlands East Mayor Dave Burton.
While Bancroft Community Transit was slated to make a presentation to the transportation task force in early May councillors felt the presentation should also be made to county council.
“I would want to know why they’re making a presentation to the task force as opposed to making a presentation to county council” said Algonquin Highlands Deputy Mayor Liz Danielsen suggesting the possibility of combining the two projects.
“It was sort of an out-of-the-blue thing” White said adding “there’s no reason it can’t be.”
“It’s a big project that everybody’s pretty excited about it and I think collaboration is the key for something of this magnitude” said Algonquin Highlands Mayor Carol Moffatt.
White added there had not been many details in the Bancroft delegation to Highlands East council.
“It was not a budgeted plan it was not a business plan of any sort” she said.
White also pointed out that Algonquin Highlands township didn’t seem to be included in any of the Bancroft group’s future plans.