Donna Mae Smith leaves city hall Tuesday night happy because council endorsed her request to reinstall the bench inside the bus shelter across from Save-on-Foods. Monica Lamb-Yorski photo

Senior’s protest sees bus bench to be restored

Tiny, but mighty. Williams Lake senior Donna Mae Smith’s request has been granted by city council.

A Williams Lake senior left city hall smiling Tuesday after her request that a bench that was removed from a downtown bus shelter two weeks ago be put back in place was approved by city council.

Donna Mae Smith made a presentation to city council during its regular meeting.

“It is puzzling,” she said. “I’ve been told this was done for safety and last spring when they took Boitanio Park’s shelter away I was told it was the exact same issue. I can truthfully say I have ridden the bus practically every day for 13 years and I have never seen anything that would make me believe I was in physical danger.”

Smith confirmed she has witnessed people hanging out in the bus shelter, but noted she has never been refused a place to sit.

“A lot of times I would be offered a seat as soon as I walked across the street to the stop,” Smith said.

As she told the Tribune in a previous interview, Smith said removing benches only causes hardship to the people the transit system is supposed to be serving.

Read More: Senior protests bench removal from Williams Lake bus shelter

“We — all of us — the passengers, city council, the provincial government and the police — have to work together to come up with a solution that doesn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.”

She suggested the bench could be the type that has a bar down the middle so someone cannot comfortably sleep on it.

Coun. Scott Nelson said he agreed with having the benches at the Save-On-Foods and Boitanio Park bus stops put back.

“They are there to support people in our community and if we are encouraging people to use transit then we want to make it easy to use and accommodating,” Nelson said and thanked Smith for bringing forward her concerns.

Coun. Laurie Walters echoed Nelson in thanking Smith.

“You’ve touched base with the idea that taking the benches away doesn’t solve the problems and that city council is going to have to dig a bit deeper,” Walters told Smith. “You also reminded us that is causes the hardship to those that it’s supposed to help.”

Walters said she has a 90-year-old-father and a 96-year-old-mother who on occasion have used transit.

“There’s no way they could have stood there waiting for a bus to come.”

Mayor Walt Cobb said the bus shelters are still a concern, but council will have to deal with them from a different angle than removing them.

Council unanimously passed a motion recommending the bench be restored in the shelter at Save-on-Foods, and that the issue be referred to the General Governance Committee for further review to bring a recommendation back to council on the matter of public safety.

Smith told council the decision was more than she could have hoped for.

“Thank you,” she said.

Just Posted

Horsefly gets new oil recycling facility

A new oil recycling facility is available to local residents at the Caron Horsefly Service Ltd.

CRD Board Highlights: Regional district applies for business facade grants

The CRD board had two presentations related to invasive animals at its board meeting

RANCH MUSINGS: Winter pasture thoughts as we shift into the season

I have been thinking about some specific things as we go into winter on the ranch

Stamps pick up win, loss during home stint

Puck drop for the Saturday, Dec. 28 game versus Quesnel is 7:30 p.m.

Free skate with Santa today, Dec. 8, at Cariboo Memorial Recration Complex

Share your Christmas wish list with Jolly Old St. Nick, himself, on the ice at the CMRC

VIDEO: SNL skewers Trudeau’s mockery of Trump in high school cafeteria sketch

The three world leaders won’t let Trump sit at the cool kids’ table

B.C. universities post $340 million worth of surpluses thanks to international student tuition

Students call for spending as international enrolment produces huge surpluses at many universities

Conservatives urge Morneau to deliver ‘urgent’ fall economic update

Morneau says the first thing the Liberals plan to do is bring in their promised tax cut for the middle class

INFOGRAPHIC: How much money did your local university or college make last year?

B.C. university and colleges posted a combined $340 million surplus in 2018/19

B.C. creates $8.5M organization to improve safety for health care workers

Group will bring together unions, province, health care organizations

Kovrig clings to humour as ‘two Michaels’ near one year in Chinese prison

Their detention is widely viewed as retaliation for Canada’s arrest of Chinese high-tech scion Meng Wanzhou

B.C. VIEWS: An engine that hums right along

First Nations are leading a new surge of investment in B.C.

Brain injury from domestic abuse a ‘public health crisis,’ says B.C. researcher

Nearly 80% of the domestic violence victims who reported to police last year were women

Most Read