MANITOULIN—With funding having been provided from the province through the municipality of Central Manitoulin under its Community Transportation grant program for $500,000, the United Manitoulin Transportation (UMT) group is now seeking public input on what is needed to fill transportation gaps on the Island to help design a solution.
“So the feasibility study is still going to go through,” said Guy Dumas of UMT, on Friday of last week. “Now we need to hammer out a strategy to have the feasibility study done and need input from the public as to what their preferences are in how and what they want to see in terms of additional transit services on the Island, for example service from community to community, and now the dollars have been secured to carry this study out.”
Mr. Dumas noted, “this is not part of the Ontario Northland process and bus route in place on the Island, but adding to and filling the gaps in service.”
Ruth Frawley, clerk of the municipality of Central Manitoulin, confirmed that the municipality “has received notice on our funding application (on behalf of the Island and UMT) having been approved in the amount of $500,000 through the MTO (Ministry of Transportation) under its Community Transportation grant program.
“We now need input from members of the public on how they see transit on the Island, what the demand is and what we should be looking at in the feasibility study, for example transportation from one community to another, so we can design a solution as part of the feasibility study,” said Mr. Dumas.
Mr. Dumas stressed, “this proposal is separate from the services being provided by Ontario Northland on the Island. I’ve talked people who have provided hypothetical scenarios, and we are looking for input from citizens what they would prefer or like to see in place, for instance full transit systems in communities, or similar to an Uber strategy and if it can be applied here.”
“We don’t want to force solutions and that is why we are going to the market place, the public and asking what the local citizens would like to see in place,” continued Mr. Dumas. “I’ve asked members of the UMT group to step forward and help with this process.”
Mr. Dumas said he will be meeting with Central Manitoulin in the next couple of weeks to develop a strategy for the feasibility study. He also noted that part of the funding agreement is that implementation has to take place within the next year.
Mr. Dumas encouraged Island residents who would like to provide input on what they would like to see in place in terms of transportation can access the UMT Facebook page to provide their needed input.