The acting manager of Canowindra Primary and Community Health Care has written to Cabonne Council to request its support in examining the need for a community bus for Canowindra.
The request was considered at Monday’s Community Services Committee meeting, after a report was presented from Community Development officer Garry Brown.
The report was prompted by a letter from Elizabeth Noble, Acting manager Canowindra Primary and Community Health, to Cabonne explaining the situation and asking for the council to look into the subject.
According to the report, the old hospital bus is now out of service and many groups are relying on the hire / loan of the rugby club bus and the Lyndon House bus.
Groups using these buses include the Golden Oldies group, Council’s HACC Service, and the Happy Wanderers group. Council’s Community transport service already subsidises transport costs for the Golden Oldies group and the Happy Wanderers.
The existing buses are reported to be old, difficult to access and lack air conditioning.
Mr Brown told the council it was evident that the provision of bus services in Canowindra is a difficulty for some groups in the community since the demise of the Canowindra Hospital bus.
However, the solution was not so simple.
“The owning of a bus available to the public has a high up front cost and substantial recurrent costs both financially and in terms of complying with State government regulations.
“It should be noted that in some centres within Cabonne, school and hospital buses have been obtained after extensive community fundraising appeals.”
He suggested it is far more cost effective to hire or charter an existing bus within the community.
“Using an existing bus can also help the organisations/businesses owning them to cover some of their fixed costs of ownership and enhance their viability.
“The difficulty of this is to find a suitable bus that is available when needed.
“It is proposed that Council work with health services and local groups to explore the options to either find another more suitable local bus, or to assist one of the existing organisations to work towards upgrading theirs.”
The matter will again be heard later this month at the normal Council meeting.