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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Roberts Drive resident Lisa Tarlings awoke at 6 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 29 to water roaring down the driveway. She and other residents began working to try and divert the water off the road into the ditch. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune.
‘I could hear the water roaring outside’: Williams Lake homes flood after snow, heavy rain

Bette McLennan has lived in her home 41 years and this is the worst it’s ever been

Residents of Riske Creek came to the rescue of a truck driver who slid off Highway 20 in icy conditions with a load of calves Tuesday night (Oct. 27). (Facebook photo)
Riske Creek residents rush to scene of overturned cattleliner on Highway 20 Tuesday night

Residents rounded up cattle and directed traffic in the dark during a heavy snowfall

One person was killed in a two-vehicle crash south of Williams Lake on Highway 97 Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020. (Photo submitted)
Highway 97 crash south of Williams Lake claims one life

Road conditions at the time were slippery and covered with slush: RCMP

The City of Williams Lake is asking for input from the community on a proposed before and after school childcare centre. (City of Williams Lake image)
City seeking input on proposed childcare facility in Williams Lake

Economic development officer urges interested community groups, public to contact her

A woman wears a face mask and plastic gloves while browsing books as a sticker on the floor indicates a one-way direction of travel between shelves of books at the Vancouver Public Library’s central branch, after it and four other branches reopened with limited services, in Vancouver, on Tuesday, July 14, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
B.C. reports 234 new COVID cases, 1 death of senior who had attended small birthday party

Roughly 5,700 people are isolating due to being exposed to a confirmed case

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Interior Health reports seven more COVID-19 cases

Eighty-nine cases remain active, none of whom are currently hospitalized

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Burnaby RCMP responded to a dine-and-dash suspect who fell through a ceiling in March 2020. (RCMP handout)
VIDEO: Suspected dine-and-dasher falls through ceiling of Burnaby restaurant

A woman believed to be dashing on her restaurant bill fell through the kitchen ceiling

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A can of Canada Dry Ginger Ale is shown in Toronto on Thursday Oct. 29, 2020. The maker of Canada Dry Ginger Ale has agreed to pay over $200,000 to settle a class-action lawsuit launched by a B.C. man who alleged he was misled by marketing suggesting the soda had medicinal benefits. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Joseph O’Connal
B.C. man’s lawsuit over marketing of Canada Dry ginger ale settled for $200K

Soda’s maker, Canada Dry Mott’s Inc., denied the allegations and any liability

Vancouver Island-based Wilson’s Transportation has expanded to fill some of the routes left unserviced by Greyhound as of Nov. 1, 2018. (Black Press files)
B.C. bus companies say they need help to survive COVID-19

Like airlines, motor coaches have lost most of their revenue

A deer was spotted in October 2020 in Prince Rupert, B.C., with a bright pink yoga ball stuck in its antlers. (Kayla Vickers/Chronicles Of Hammy The Deer Official Page)
Hammy 2.0? Prince Rupert deer spotted with bright pink yoga ball stuck in antlers

The BC Conservation Officer Service is aware of the deer roaming around the city

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Kelowna Mountie hit with 2nd lawsuit in 2 months for alleged assault

Const. Julius Prommer is accused of breaking a woman’s knee during while responding to a noise complaint

Most Read