It’s the time of the year where the City of Cold Lake is diving into their annual budget deliberations. One of the major topics at the meetings will be city transit, Cold Lake launched their transit service on August 26th, to very positive results.
“The transit is going to be the big conversation,” explains Mayor of Cold Lake, Craig Copeland, “it’s been a huge success. The business community has been really supportive of it, getting their workers to the worksite, as well as, moving students around and the general public using the transit, there’s been an overwhelming support towards it.”
The City launched transit free to passengers, a service the Mayor says he’d love to see continue, if viable, “that’ll be a major conversation in the budget deliberations. I know a lot of people who would say, ‘jeez, that’s ridiculous.'” But it’s not just wasted money, explains Mayor Copeland, “when you start taking cash, then you gotta employ someone to take the cash. We have to run the numbers to find out if you’re going to be in a positive cash-flow for that.”
“You can look at it in a different way,” Mayor Copeland expands, “it makes the City of Cold Lake livable, if you keep it free. It address keeping fewer vehicles on the road, from an environmental stand-point.” The ah-ha moment the Mayor points out is recreation versus transit, “why is it okay for municipalities to operation a swimming pool or a hockey rink? You’re lucky to get back 10 or 20 cents back on every dollar you spend. We do have huge debts with recreation, we’re okay with that. Why not have a deficit for transit? It encompasses the whole community.”
Mayor Copeland says Council is taking all these factors into consideration as they head into their budget deliberations, “do we really need to charge? And can we live with whatever the deficit would be? And it’ll be a huge number, but there’s a lot of support on Council to keep it free for a while.”
Deliberations will be held from mid-November to early December.