Jan. 24, 2019
by Colin Smith
Morinville Town Council is supporting a call for the Alberta government to fund alternate seniors’ transportation services in rural Alberta.
Council passed a motion at its January 22 regular meeting stating its willingness to be lead sponsor of an Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA) resolution to that effect.
The resolution, drafted by the Sturgeon Region/MARD Transportation Working Group, would be put forward for debate at the next meeting of the AUMA, scheduled to take place in September.
The resolution states that a lack of affordable and accessible transportation options prevents many Alberta seniors who do not have their own vehicles from meeting medical, social and other essential needs.
In fact, less than 50 per cent of rural and remote communities in the province have alternate transportation for seniors in their communities.
Currently there are few funding sources to support the development and operation of alternate transportation for rural seniors, so the resolution calls on the AUMA to advocate for grant funding, which would come from the Alberta government.
Councillor Sarah Hall made the motion that council sponsor the draft resolution, which passed unanimously.
In the discussion on the motion, Mayor Barry Turner said that he and other councillors had spoken to seniors at the Morinville Rendez-Vous Club and found this was a concern for them.
“It is an issue that is important to our community, and I look forward to being sponsor or co-sponsor so that it’s on the floor at the AUMA,” he said.
Before reaching the AUMA convention, the resolution will first be considered at the gathering of regional mayors. Council passed a further motion to leave it up to the mayors to decide whether Morinville will be the lead sponsor or co-sponsor of the resolution
Sturgeon County is looking to sponsor a similar resolution at the 2019 Rural Municipalities of Alberta convention.
Alternate transportation for seniors is considered to be transportation service outside of the regular public transportation system, such as handivans, volunteer driver programs, and senior’s buses.
Advocates say this is important because the illness and disabilities that prevent seniors from driving also often prevent them from using regular public transportation.