With the introduction of the intermunicipal Prescott-Russell transportation system, have you informed yourself about the schedules to see if this system can be of benefit to you or to someone you know?
This ambitious pilot project is making every effort to move people from rural areas into our small towns and then take them home again. In the past, The Review reported on a senior citizen in Vankleek Hill attending a Champlain council meeting to suggest a weekly bus route to Hawkesbury.
Now, there are options for senior citizens or for those without transportation or those who choose to take advantage of public transit.
Of the $2 million awarded to the United Counties of Prescott and Russell and Carefor for the project, $1.5 million is being used to develop the intermunicipal transportation service while $500,000 will be used to purchase an adapted minivan and the services of a driver for Carefor, to better serve its clients.
Let’s hope that schedules are being posted in appropriate locations and that information is being shared so that those who need this service know that it is now available. It is not a bus-every-10-minutes service yet, but this project will test the needs and how people use it before taking it to another level or deciding whether to continue the service.
This newspaper also reported several years ago that transportation was one of the biggest challenges for women who wanted to leave abusive relationships.
The coming months will show whether we use our new transportation system — and use will depend in great part upon people knowing that it exists.
Our municipalities and regional governments strive to offer a full range of services, including standard items like garbage collection or well-maintained roads (with the latter representing about 20 to 28 per cent of a municipality’s annual expenses), to indoor and outdoor ice rinks, ball diamonds, beaches, recreation programs, libraries, parks, heritage programs, walking trails and so much more.
And those services exist in tandem with other social network systems offered by agencies like the Eastern Ontario Health Unit, social services, our school boards and community organizations.
In this era of fleeting attention across many networks, maybe we owe it to ourselves to make sure our governments are tracking who uses what and when. At the same time, we can ask ourselves if we know about all that is available to us: from activities at our local library, to local arts and culture programs, concerts, recycling, indoor walking spaces, public skating — and so much more.
In this age of rising costs, it is safe to say that if we don’t use it, it might mean we don’t really need it. And if we don’t use these services to their fullest, we should let them go.
Turn your attention to the services offered by all our levels of government. As budget deliberations occur in area municipalities, it is a great time to find out how your tax dollars will be spent.
Are we expecting too much from government, social agencies and school boards? Or are we agreeing with their priorities and why they do what they do with our tax dollars?
Get informed. Consider what is in the best interests of your community. And be part of the process by letting elected officials know what you think.

By Louise Sproule
[email protected]