Moving a bus stop should not be such a difficult thing. But in Kamloops it can be.
On Tuesday, Kamloops City Council spent over two hours debating whether to move a bus stop. In the end, council said no. They decided to keep the stop where it was. This is actually the second time the request has been turned down. Too bad, I think. I supported moving the stop.
At present, there is a bus stop on Tranquille Road at Wood Street, immediately in front of Norkam Healthcare Centre. The centre has tens of thousands of clients a year and wanted to have a loading zone in front of the centre so patients, many who have mobility issues, could be dropped off. The centre asked for the bus stop to be moved. A harder request than it seems.
That’s because the proposed new location the bus stop was just up the street. The businesses where the proposed stop was didn’t want a stop in front of their businesses. They didn’t want to lose the parking that was immediately in front of the businesses. Their fear was that if they lost the parking spots in front of their businesses, they would lose business because their customers wouldn’t walk the few extra feet to come to their shops.
So council debated for two hours, and then decided to take the easy out, and do nothing. So the bus stop stays where it is.
Neither the health clinic nor the other businesses own the street in front of their businesses. Moreover, street parking in front of business is not theirs alone but available to anyone. City council can put parking spots, loading zones and bus stops wherever they want.
So where’s the dilemma? It would be simple enough to make the change of the bus stop. But council didn’t want to raise the ire of the other businesses. People who have something that is taken away have more power than those who haven’t got anything at all.
The council spent two hours debating who to keep happy.
By not moving the bus stop, city council decided to keep the other businesses happy. Council decided to keep things the way they are so that a few small businesses can keep about three street parking spots that they haven’t paid for, in front of their businesses.
Council decided it didn’t need to make the clinic and its thousands of clients happier by giving the clinic a loading zone.
There are other businesses with loading zones in front of their businesses. Hotels on Victoria come to mind. So to argue that the clinic shouldn’t have one ignores the fact that other businesses already do.
There are other businesses who have bus stops in front of them which are thriving. There are businesses up and down Tranquille which have bus stops in front of them which are still in business. So arguing that the other businesses would suffer ignores the fact that other businesses can make it when they have a bus stop in front.
Council’s decision to not move the bus stop was based on deciding who was important to keep happy.
The real issue is that once someone has something, taking it away is difficult. It doesn’t matter that the other businesses don’t own the street parking in front of their shops. They believe that the parking immediately in front of their shops is ‘theirs’.
The issue of moving the bus stop has gone away for now, but perhaps it will come back again. But next time, I recommend the clinic brings a large group of clients, especially with wheelchairs and walkers. Council needs to remember that this city is for everyone, including those who have mobility issues. Council needs to think about who they should try to keep happy.