The Village of Granisle is buying a new passenger van and continuing its thrice-weekly shuttle service to neighbouring communities thanks to a $172,051 grant received through the provincial government.
The money is part of $2.8 million being split between 18 communities and organizations being funneled from the province through the Northern Development Initiative Trust based in Prince George.
Granisle mayor Linda McGuire said the village was happy with the news as it continues a service begun in 2017.
“We were successful in 2017 to receive the initial funding, including the shuttle van, to operate a shuttle service for our residents to neighbouring communities,” said McGuire of an inititial grant program aimed at better connecting smaller and more remote communities with larger ones.
“Currently, our shuttle service is to Burns Lake on Tuesday, Houston on Wednesday and Smithers on Thursday.”
“The new funding will include monies to operate for the next three years as well as ordering a replacement van, due to arrive in late 2022 or early 2023, depending on availability due to Covid delays,” McGuire added.
The van leaves Granisle between 8 and 8:30 a.m. the three days a week, returning when appointments and stops in the communities have been completed.
McGuire said the service is used by people with medical or other appointments and for buying items or obtaining services not normally available in Granisle.
“Throughout Covid we were able to work with grocery stores in both Burns Lake and Houston where our residents could phone in their grocery orders and have our transit driver pick them up and deliver to their door,” she said.
“This was huge for our community when residents were more comfortable in remaining at home during the Covid restrictions.”
The cost is $5 one way and $10 return and the van is driven by a village employee.
Elsewhere, grants went to local governments and organizations including the Dze L’Kant Friendship Centre which has offices in Smithers and Houston and which received $150,000, and the Village of Fraser Lake which received $150,000.
The initial grants in 2017 were provided directly by the provincial government but it has now turned over administration of the grant program package to the Northern Development Initiative Trust.