BL councillor proposes passenger van rental

Richard Froese
South Peace News

A Big Lakes County councillor wants council to rent its 12-passenger transportation bus to third-party groups.
However, Joussard Councillor Richard Mifflin didn’t get much support when the issue was presented to council at its regular meeting Nov. 23.
Council tabled the issue to get more information about the costs as recommended by interim CAO Roy Brideau.
“Right now we offer the bus,” Mifflin says.
“If people want to use it, it has to be affordable.”
Administration recommended a fee of $250 a day, $25 for each passenger seat occupied and a distance rate according to the council’s policy for subsistence, travel expenses and allowances.
Mifflin suggested the fee for the seat be dropped just before council tabled the issue.
Big Lakes opened the offer to rent the bus to third parties after council approved a daily fee of $600 and a travel fee of 61 cents a kilometre at its regular meeting Sept. 22, 2021.
The motion was made in response to requests from community groups to rent the bus, Pat Olansky, director of planning and development, told council.
“Since the fee was implemented, the bus has not been rented by any community group,” Olansky added.
Three organizations asked the county about renting the van at that time, said Mohammad Choudhary, who was the director of corporate services at the time.
Inquiries to rent the Big Lakes Rural Transportation Service bus were made by Pleasantview Lodge, High Prairie Golden Age Club and Northern Lakes College, he said.
Mifflin suggested council promote the rental service more.
“We’ve never rented it,” Mifflin says.
“Why don’t we generate some interest?
“I think it’s a good service to offer.”
He suggested it would be a good service for people to go shopping out of the region.
However, two councillors oppose the plan by Mifflin.
Grouard Councillor Jeff Chalifoux was the first to speak.
“I’m not sure I want to get into rentals,” Chalifoux says.
Gilwood North – Triangle Councillor Jim Zabolotniuk agreed.
“Do we want to be in that business?” Zabolotniuk asked.
“No we don’t.”
He questioned the proposal.
“Why do we want to get into the rental business?” Zabolotniuk asked. “It doesn’t make sense.”
He reminded council members that council decided to opt out of the rental business operated by the Agricultural Service Board after he suggested it at the council meeting Nov. 10, 2021.
At its regular meeting Dec. 8, 2021, council passed a motion to get out of the rental program by Dec. 31, 2024.

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