As a result of grant funding

As a result of grant funding

Shelters in place, but bus service lacking

The upgrade work on Prairie Valley Road and Rosedale Avenue includes some bus shelters, even though Summerland does not at present have scheduled bus routes.

Municipal administrator Don DeGagne said the shelters and bus pullouts were added to the road upgrade as a result of designated funding the municipality received several years ago.

One pullout with shelters is already in place on Rosedale Avenue near Summerland Secondary School. Another pullout is in place on Prairie Valley Road and a third is to be set up near the library.

“We’re preparing for the future,” DeGagne said. “Well be ready when the buses come.”

At present, however, there is no indication a bus service will come in the foreseeable future.

The shelters at Summerland Secondary School are being used when school buses drop off and pick up students each day.

Although there has been plenty of discussion about the need for a regional transit service, he said municipal officials are still waiting for a decision from the province.

Summerland has a rudimentary service in place.

On Monday to Friday, there is a bus leaving Summerland at 7 a.m., arriving in Penticton at 7:30 a.m. A bus leaves Penticton at 8:15 a.m., arriving in Summerland at 8:45 a.m. In the afternoon, a bus leaves Summerland at 1:45 p.m., arriving in Penticton at 2:15 p.m. From Penticton, a bus leaves for Summerland at 3 p.m., arriving at 3:30 p.m.

This service is by reservation only.

In addition, there is a bus on the first Tuesday of the month for specialist appointments. This bus leaves Summerland at 9:30 a.m., arriving in Penticton at 10 a.m. The return bus leaves Penticton at 1 p.m., arriving at 1:30 p.m.

Ken Ostraat, chief financial officer for the municipality, said the municipality had received funding for the bus pullouts and shelters.

A scheduled bus service however is still some time in the future.

“We’re stilly lobbying for the service,” he said. “At some point in the future, there’s likely going to be an expansion.”

He said the expanded service likely will not come into being for at least a year.

Until a transit service is in place, the shelters and pullout at Summerland Secondary School will be used for the school bus service.

Mayor Janice Perrino said a regional transit system, connecting the South Okanagan communities and extending at least to Kelowna, is in the plans.

“We’re working on it. We’re hoping it will come,” she said.

She added that representatives from the province had spoken with her earlier, promising the service would be in place in April, 2010.

While the service is not yet in place and while announcements about it are not expected in the foreseeable future, Perrino remains optimistic.

“I truly believe they’re trying to make it work, so we’re ready,” she said. “We need to be able to have people living here and betting to different places in the valley.”