Oct 31, 2011

Vancouver shows support for people who need it most

Vancouver City Council votes to increase transit support for Seniors and People with Disabilities

BURNABY—A motion to increase support for people with disabilities and seniors was unanimously passed by Vancouver City Councilor’s at the Vancouver City Council meeting October 4, 2011.

A recent report issued by Translink included an eight percent increase in support for the “conventional bus system” in the Lower Mainland over the next three years, but included no increased support in services for seniors or people with disabilities.

The “Moving Forward” plan also indicates plans to freeze HandyDart service hours until 2014.

Representatives from various organizations, including Paul Cane, Executive Director of Civil Rights Now and Jill Weiss, Co-Chair of the City of Vancouver Advisory Committee on Disability Issues, attended the meeting to address the lack of public transportation for seniors and persons with disabilities.

“Public services are not public services unless they are available to everyone” stated Cane.

CUPE 1936 vice-president, Sheryl Burns, was also there to give a presentation stating that “seniors and people with disabilities are contributing members of our society and should have the same options as other citizens of the Lower Mainland.”

Councillor Ellen Woodsworth led the way in ensuring the rights of seniors and people with disabilities be remembered and recommended an amended motion on the report.

The motion was put in place to ensure that City Council “advise Translink that the 2012 Supplemental Plan and Outlook does not provide sufficient resources to meet existing and anticipated demand for services for people with disabilities and seniors, especially HandyDart services, and implementation of the Moving Forward supplement must engage with affected riders to ensure this plan and future ones meet their needs for frequency and quality of service.”

“It is so necessary that we stand up for people who may not be able to stand up for themselves,” says Burns, “advocating for our members and  members of the community is one of the most important things that CUPE does.”

While the support for seniors and people with disabilities is a definite win, there are still some concerns with Translink’s plan. Metro Vancouver mayors voted Friday morning 81-34 in favour of Translink’s plan which will lead to higher gas taxes and a possible increase in property tax. The $1.2 billion transportation plan will see raised gas taxes starting next April.

COPE 491