Handi-van driver shortage serious concern

As the Blindman Handi-Van Society loses more drivers to old age, society representative Harold Kenney says the van no longer has enough

Al Elliott

As the Blindman Handi-Van Society loses more drivers to old age, society representative Harold Kenney says the van no longer has enough drivers to operate efficiently and funds are needed to employ a full-time driver, rather than solely relying on busy volunteers.

The van is down to four drivers, with each volunteer driving for one week out of the month.

The society used to run two vans, one in town and another for out of town trips. However, volunteers were being called when it wasn’t their week to drive and the number had to be cut back to one van.

Rimbey’s town council discussed the issue at their Feb. 24 meeting; council was approached for a $20,000 donation.

It was decided council would grant the request to assist with a full-time driver if Ponoka County decides to contribute matching funds.

“We’re asking for $20,000 from the county,” said Kenney to Ponoka County councillors at their Feb. 11 meeting. He added the cost of a full-time driver would be around $35,000 per year.

“We probably have a year or two years before it’s going to fall apart,” he added.

“But you don’t want to sit on your laurels, you want to be proactive,” added County Reeve Paul McLauchlin at council’s Feb. 11 meeting.