Reader disagrees with Kitimat Council’s attitude towards airport service

Council's approach to airport transportation service has left at least one reader rubbed the wrong way.

Dear Sir,

An open letter to Mayor and Council

Re: Airport service

I watched the Council meeting on December 3 and listened carefully to the motions and discussions regarding the airport transportation service and was very disappointed in some of our Council members – in fact I have lost the respect I had for them. Attitude is everything, and what came out of the mouths of some of our elected officials was anything but positive.

I am over 60 so I “qualify” under what was decided; However, I disagree with the qualifications and the whole attitude that came about at that meeting.

Some of the council members were being very disrespectful towards people in their comments about who should or who should not be able to take the airport transportation. It came across to me that “yes, we want the service” but “no, we don’t want it used too much as it will cost money”.

To speak to the comment about using the Connector (which doesn’t work at all for catching some of the flights coming or going) as “most people only take one bag” – you can’t take luggage with you unless you can hold it on your lap. Whether one is going for “pleasure” or for “medical”, if one is going for at least a week, that “one bag” is most likely going to be too big to sit on one’s lap. Also, if one is taking the Northern Health bus out on Saturday or returning on Sunday one cannot take the Connector – it doesn’t run on the weekend.

The comment was made that it’s the seniors and persons with disabilities who “want this service”, this is not so – they are not the only ones who want this service. There are many others in this community who also want it, but I guess they haven’t got together in “group form” to say so.

A comment was made that people who are “financially well-off” can find their own way to the airport – are people to be penalized because they have a few extra dollars; yet on the other hand people are being penalized because they are on EI or Social Assistance; there are many others who fall in between “financial” and “age” to meet the criteria for taking the airport transportation – how is this fair?

It was also said “if you can afford to fly…” leaving the implication that if you could afford to fly you could afford to find your own way to the airport. However, many who fly are doing so on points (that have taken a long time to save up) or on a ticket that someone has graciously donated.

And if you’re flying for medical reasons, guess what, those reasons don’t care if you have money or not – you have to figure it out and adding the stress of getting to the airport doesn’t help. It was also said that if one was going for medical they could take the Northern Health Bus instead of flying; however, there are physical restrictions that must be met to take this bus, and if you are unable to meet them then you can’t take it. Also, there are times that an appointment date and time is such that taking the bus doesn’t work.

As for the form of transportation – there are only so many cabs in town, so how much notice will you have to give them to book one for the airport, making sure you get there on time. What about getting back home from the airport – do you book in advance or call when you’re at the airport, and if you book in advance, what happens if the plane is late. It was also said that if two or more “qualified riders” were in the cab, the rate would be reduced. It was said that people could enquire if there were others going to the airport and therefore go together in the cab – good idea, but how do you go about finding out such information.

It looks to me like Council voted for the project, but really hopes it doesn’t work, because then at the end of four/five months you can say “we tried, but the people didn’t use it, so it isn’t necessary”.

For your information, I am also submitting this letter to the newspaper.

Margaret Ferns

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