The community of Grand Bend got some very good news in May, and Grand Bend Community Foundation played a role in making it happen.
Last fall, the Foundation granted $8,000 to the Huron Shores Transit Steering Committee to help it develop a proposal for a public transit system in Lambton Shores, South Huron Bluewater, North Middlesex, and Kettle and Stony Point First Nation.
The grant was matched by the area tourism board and enabled the group to develop a detailed demand survey. The results were overwhelming: 7 out of 8 respondents felt transit was needed, and 75% said they would use it.
In May the group heard that it will receive $2 million over five years from the Ontario Community Transportation Grants program to cover local and regional needs, and a feasibility study that will determine the level of service.
“We see transit as a market-based solution to a whole host of mobility impediments,” says Glen Baillie, a Grand Bend business owner, member of the Transit Steering Committee, and chair of the Grand Bend Chamber of Commerce.
Baillie points out that transit will help people in the region get to and from work and medical appointments, build a sense of community, and reduce social isolation for seniors. “Grand Bend is a retirement community. It would be nice if people didn’t have to move to a larger community when they lose the ability to drive.”
He adds that the Foundation’s help was important. “Apart from the financial support, it was a vote of confidence in a bold idea.”