Re-open Bus Route #30 in Nanaimo BC

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Kiwanis Village is a Not for Profit Organization in the heart of Nanaimo. For over 60 years our mandate has been to provide supportive and affordable housing to older adults in Nanaimo. We achieve this through careful stewardship of multiple housing options that include rent controlled housing, Assisted Living, Long Term Care, Respite, Adult Day Programs, bathing programs, and vibrant, evidence based recreational therapy. We proudly provide meals on Wheels to almost 2000 folks every month within the City boundaries.

For 60 years we have been a local employer and currently work with 250 employees, over 80 volunteers, partners, contractors and service providers. Funded through Island Health and BC Housing we carefully mange a hearty chunk of pension income from older adults and in return we ensure our collective health and wellbeing.

This message comes from the 230 seniors who live well at Kiwanis, it comes from the employees and volunteers who work with and for this community and who can access employment because there is a bus stop right outside and shift work is 24 hours.

It comes from the families and friends of Kiwanis Villagers who are happy knowing that their loved ones can retain independence through transit access across Nanaimo and beyond. It comes from the Villagers with mobility challenges and those who use walkers, wheelchairs and will power, canes and camaraderie simply get to the bus stop where the Village meets the street.

It comes from the administrators who, through the surprised voices of Villagers, heard that the bus route was to be removed. Without consultation, without public address, minus connections or discourse, BC Transit has made a unilateral decision that fully impacts the lives of seniors.

We advocate for the rights of older adults to be heard, seen and supported. Marginalized through actions and inaction that separate and restrict every day, adults living with disabilities are set aside and opinions are rarely sought. Our role is to close this gap, educate and inform and, through this promotion, we make a difference in the lived experience of seniors.

Isolation, loneliness and depression are the 3 tenants of dis-ease that reduce human interaction, create disconnection and promote exclusion. Remarkable amounts of research identify the need for access and connection, as an antidote to these 3 life diminishing states.

Kiwanis Villagers, The Board of Directors, friends, families, employees, volunteers, partners, contractors and funders are astonished and dismayed.

We are however, collectively resolute. We are resolute in our determination to work with BC transit to reinstate route 30 as it was. We are firm in our opinion that this action by BC Transit would not have occurred if your organization had remembered that Kiwanis Village is an empowered, thriving and inclusive and a community within a community that has expectations from BC Transit. Therefore we give you the opportunity to consult with us and reimagine your decision.

People working for People is how Kiwanis began, over 60 years ago. The bus stop has been in situ for over 25 years and is managed and maintained by our Village as BC Transit previously elected to not preserve this important component.

At best the removal of route 30 is an administrative oversight that can still be rectified, at worst it demonstrates the further marginalization of older adults and is, frankly, ageist.

The signatures attached to this letter are from folks across our Village. Please take time to ponder the intended and unintended consequences of your unfortunate action and set time to meet with us, as a Village, to take steps to rectify.

I sign my name first as I have been given permission by the Village to represent our community in this matter, I do it with determination and focus.

Yours Sincerely

Melanie Young RN Executive Director