Blackburn, Streatch differ on bus donation to Bridgewater

HRM approves donation of two buses to community; one to Halifax Christian Academy

Councillor Lisa Blackburn (Healey file photo)

BEAVER BANK: The two councillors for the area—Lisa Blackburn and Steve Streatch—both take opposite sides on HRM’s recent discussion about donating three buses, two of them to the Town of Bridgewater.

While Blackburn—the representative for Upper/Middle Sackville-Lucasville-Beaver Bank—feels it’s a good gesture by HRM, Waverley-Fall River-Musquodoboit Valley councillor Steve Streatch isn’t impressed or keen on the idea, given that the buses are only eight years old.

“At council there certainly was support for it,” said Blackburn. “Anytime we can do something to help another municipality, especially the smaller ones, why not?

“This is a pilot project so obviously we’re not giving away buses ‘willy nilly’ to supplement their fleet. This is something they want to take for a test drive. If we can do something by donating a couple of buses, there really was no issue about that around the council table.”

Streatch sees it differently. He suggests HRM could make use of the buses right at home with a community run in the Fall River-Waverley corridor.

“I was very surprised when staff brought forward the report recommending we donate three surplus buses to other organizations,” said Streatch. “I’m all for helping out where we can, but I believe if we have surplus equipment we should look within before we look outside of our borders for opportunities.”

He said initially he was under the impression the surplus buses were 15-16-years-old, something that was aged and not able to be used any further.

“Upon questioning staff though, it came to light that they’re barely eight-years-old,” he said. “I can tell you clearly there are a lot of residents in this municipality who are driving vehicles that were made a lot longer than eight years ago.”

Streatch said staff indicated it would cost more to keep running those buses even though they are in fine working condition.

“My question now is if we are finding ourselves with equipment that they feel is not up to the pounding of some of the day-to-day routes, maybe we should look at some under-serviced areas; the Waverley-Fall River corridor would be one.”