Hamilton Township ponders request for accessible transportation funding
Europe, March 7 2012
NORTHUMBERLAND: The transportation program co-ordinator for Community Care Northumberland has asked Hamilton Township to consider a first-ever donation toward accessibility transportation.
The transportation initiative is working in various parts of the county and has been for several years, Charlotte Clay-Ireland said. With the senior population expected to double in 15 years, increasing the incidence of disability to one in five people (from one in seven), a door-to-door transportation service is needed for those without transportation of their own, she said.
No doctor’s note is required and the program is open to all ages and not just elderly people, Clay-Ireland said. Volunteers use their own vehicles and some others such as special program vans which facilitate people in wheelchairs, plus room for escorts and those with walkers. People can also transport oxygen they need to breathe.
Last year 1,452 individuals used the service travelling 1.3 million kilometres, councillors were told. Two and a half percent of the rides were booked by township residents, Clay-Ireland said.
Based on 46 cents per capita (about 10,000 people), Clay-Ireland requested a grant of $5,000 for 2012.
Service is also provided to Alnwick/Haldimand Township, Cramahe Township and Trent Hills, she said.
“Most rides are in the county but some are outside,” she noted, such as to doctor appointments.
A return ride from Port Hope to Peterborough and back costs a client $38.
Trent Hills provided a grant to expand service there, said Clay-Ireland, a former township reeve and longtime resident. Funding comes, in part, from the gas tax grant it receives from the upper level of government.
Hamilton Township Mayor Mark Lovshin last week asked the township administrator to investigate how other municipalities are funding the accessibility transportation initiative and to report back before council makes a decision.
The program is funded in part through the Central East Region Local Health Integration Network ($88,000), a United Way grant ($2,500) to assist clients who can not afford to pay the 37 cents per kilometre transportation service themselves, plus municipal contributions, councillors were told.
The program has not been advertised but people are aware of it through word of mouth, Clay-Ireland said. As it expands, it could be offered to those at local nursing homes, she said.