Caption: Shown (L-R): Michelle Halls (RM of Pipestone CAO), Kathy Reid (Seniors Helping Hand Coordinator), Deborah Smith, Evelyn Fotheringham, Meegan Carson (Chairperson, RM of Pipestone Handi-Van Committee), Brian Zarn, Doyle Piwniuk (MLA Arthur-Virden), Archie McPherson, Reeve, RM of Pipestone, Eileen Milliken, Marilee Smeltz, Dallas Watt. PHOTO/DOLORES CALDWELL
On Monday, December 18, 2017, the RM of Pipestone celebrated the arrival of a new 2017 16-passenger wheelchair accessible handi-van which will provide the opportunity for a more reliable, safe and comfortable mode of transportation for residents in both urban and rural areas of the RM of Pipestone. Residents with reduced mobility rely on accessible handi-transit transportation services to access medical services, employment and pursue recreational activities. The handi-van service promotes independence and inclusivity and enables mobility disadvantaged residents the opportunity to participate in community activities.
The RM of Pipestone received funding from the Public Transit Infrastructure Fund (PTIF) for the purchase of this new handi-van, a project that has been made possible with support from all levels of government, the RM of Pipestone Handi-van Committee and dedicated community members.
“Making sure everyone, regardless of ability, can get where they need to go safely, quickly and comfortably is essential to creating diverse and inclusive communities. The Government of Canada is proud to support vital projects like the purchase of this new handi-van in the RM of Pipestone, which will help ensure reliable transportation services for people with mobility issues in the community.” The Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities
“Our Government is proud of our strong continued partnership with all levels of government and our shared commitment to public transit infrastructure investments and successful partnerships with both Canada and our municipal partners. Strategic investments in our public transit infrastructure helps facilitate growth and improve the quality of life in Manitoba communities.”– Doyle Piwniuk, MLA Arthur-Virden
“Quality transportation is a priority to the RM of Pipestone and we are thankful for the funding support from the Governments of Manitoba and Canada through the Public Transit Infrastructure Fund. This investment will help maintain Handi-Transit services in the RM of Pipestone and improve accessibility in our community.”- Archie McPherson, Reeve, RM of Pipestone
“The new handi-van will provide a more comfortable and accessible travelling experience for the mobility disadvantaged and it is so important to have this type of service to assist them with their medical appointments, work, recreation and shopping.” - Meegan Carson, Chairperson, RM of Pipestone Handi-Van Committee. Carson went on to say, “On behalf of the Handi-van Committee, I would like to thank the Federal and Provincial governments for the grants which enabled us to purchase this new vehicle. Without this funding, we would have struggled to have sufficient funds to continue operations.
The new handi-van has a 16-seat capacity as compared to 14 seats in the previous van. This will be a bonus for the children’s recreation program that takes several trips out of town each year.
The vehicle has some enhanced safety features including improved lighting on the steps and the lift, wider front entrance with easier to reach safety bars and both shoulder and lap belts for wheelchair passengers.
In addition, there is more space between some of the seats to better accommodate taller passengers or those with decreased mobility.
I would also like to thank the RM of Pipestone for their ongoing support, the Seniors Helping Hand coordinators for scheduling and coordinating trips and the drivers for volunteering their time. This is what makes our program successful.”