County to apply for extension of community transportation project
By Chad Ingram
Published Feb. 28, 2017
Haliburton County will be applying to the Ministry of Transportation for funding to extend the community transportation project, being conducted by local transportation advocacy group Rural Transportation Options (RTO).
During the past year, the project has created a database of transportation options that exist in Haliburton County, as well as as the Haliburton Rideshare website, which encourages ride-sharing and allows drivers and those looking for a lift to make connections.
Haliburton County has no form of public transportation.
“It is difficult to track exactly how many rides have been established through the rideshare program,” project co-ordinator Tina Jackson told county councillors during a Feb. 22 meeting.
While all individual trips may not be logged, the Rideshare site does have 65 registered users.
As for calls to the community transportation phone hub, the largest number were for access to services and medical reasons.
Last November, the RTO hosted a transportation summit that brought together various stakeholder groups as well as local politicians and municipal staff.
“Engagement and support of local municipalities is essential for the success of projects,” said Lisa Tolentino, project lead for RTO.
Tolentino and Jackson highlighted the areas in which the transportation project links to county priorities including employment and training, economic development, environmental sustainability, poverty reduction, youth retention and the creation of aging-friendly communities.
Moving forward, the RTO is hoping to create a task force on transportation issues that would serve in an advisory capacity to the county and its townships, as well as host another summit.
The county has acted as the banker and applicant for the program previously, and the request was that the municipality continue in that role, applying for a year’s extension of $50,000, the bulk of that funding used to pay for the co-ordinator position.
Other requests were for the county to provide space and technology for task force meetings, appoint a council representative to the task force, to provide administrative support and to investigate the province’s Public Transit Gas Tax Fund.
Councillors agreed the county would grant all requests, with the exception of administrative support, since it didn’t have sufficient resources to provide such.
Dysart et al Reeve Murray Fearrey asked why people would move out into the country if they didn’t have transportation to get to work in the county’s villages.
“There’s actually a number of folks who live in town, but their employment is out of town,” Jackson said, adding that employees of some the county’s resorts fit into this category.
Tolentino also said there has been some conversation with the Pinestone Resort and Conference Centre about starting a shuttle service.