Transit service to band, Sun Rivers, too expensive for now

'We've heard informally Tk'emlups is in no place to fund any of them at this time'

B.C. Transit has proposed three options for bus service to Sun Rivers and the Tk'emlups Indian Band.

But there have been indications the band can't afford any of them.

B.C. Transit spokeswoman Meribeth Burton said Monday the band has until early September to respond to the offers.

"We've heard informally Tk'emlups is in no place to fund any of them at this time," she said.

"We're going to work with a floating target. There is a small but passionate group of people in the area who want this transit service. But we work with local government. It is up to them to decide."

The three options would create 2,000 to 3,540 hours of service to the band land - about eight to 12 hours of conventional bus service on weekdays, and some weekend hours. At the maximum, it would cost the band $235,000 a year. B.C. Transit would pay about $220,000.

Burton said Sun Rivers has been the most vocal group looking for bus service.

"We believe there is room to grow. But we are funded by the province and the local government. we need everybody to come to the table with that part of the equation."

Leslie Brochu, Sun Rivers vice-president, said studies and surveys have been done in the last couple of years to gauge the want for transit.

The demand seems to be there, but the cost is too high. The service would be funded through taxation. For Sun Rivers residents, the price would be about $250 to $300 a year.

"Ultimately, it's the taxpayer who's going to pay for that," she said.

"We're in ongoing discussions. They go back and forth. It's an open process with transit. It's a dynamic process."

There have to be enough people to share the transit taxation bill, she said.

"It'll be on the table until we get the population and the price at a level that is palatable to the taxpayer."

Sun Rivers has about 750 homes and 1,250 residents right now. Eventually, the golf community is expected to grow to about 3,500 to 4,000 residents - it's expected to reach half that by 2015.

Tk'emlups Indian Band Chief Shane Gottfriedson did not return calls from the Daily News on Monday.

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