Most pay less with new Cowichan Valley transit funding model

While it reduces costs for most areas, a new funding formula for transit adopted last week by the Cowichan Valley Regional District Board did not meet with approval from all partners.

The previous funding model was based on population, assessment and the number of partners in the transit function.

The new model is based 100 per cent on assessment, and will be phased in over three years.

This will reduce costs for the City of Duncan, the Town of Lake Cowichan, the Town of Ladysmith, Mill Bay/Malahat (Area A), Cobble Hill (Area C), Cowichan Bay (Area D), Sahtlam/Glenora/Cowichan Station (Area E) , Cowi chan Lake South/Skut z Falls (Area F) and Youbou/Meade Creek (Area I).

Costs will go up for the Municipality of North Cowichan at a rate of $1.11 per year for three years, and for Shawnigan Lake (Area B) at a rate of 38 cents per year for three years.

Voting against the new model were Dir. Ian Morrison (Area F), Dir. Pat Weaver (Area I), Dir. Gerry Giles (Area C) and Dir. Bruce Fraser (Area B).

Giles said that while costs will go down in her area under the new funding model, she voted against it because she supported a different model that she felt was more fair.

"I didn’t think it was fair to Shawnigan Lake," Giles said. "It is going to increase in North Cowichan but then, so too has the coverage in North Cowichan increased. So they are getting actually better service and I can’t say the same for either Cobble Hill or Shawnigan Lake."

Shawnigan Lake pay sasignificant amount towards transit, she said, but gets "very little service."

Morrison said while this new model is certainly easier to understand and explain, he would have preferred something closer to what they had, which takes into account more variables, while still reducing costs for some areas.

"I’m certainly not opposed to costs going down in my area," he said, but "I don’t believe that the assessment model is doing anybody any particular favours."

This formula, he said, was picked because it had the least number of losers, and those that did lose, didn’t lose too badly.

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