Lack of funds stops summer bus

A lack of support and funding has been blamed for the withdrawal of Ballina shires Summer Bus service over the coming New Year holiday break.

The bus, basically an extension of existing services between Lennox Head and Ballina to cater for youth and late-night revellers on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, ran for the first time last January and was planned to operate, again this January.

However, according to a Ballina Shire Council staff report tabled at last weeks Council meeting, the service would cost around $6500 to operate but the proposal failed to gain funding support from two of three licensed clubs which are members of the Ballina Shire Liquor Accord.

Last years service came about after Council succeeded in gaining a grant from the Ministry of Transport.

Staff said Council had not budgeted for such a service for this year and given its relatively poor usage last year, there was little likelihood of any cost recovery.

Cr Margaret Howes said Council should find the money to fund the service because lots of youth create trouble when theyve got nowhere to go, but mayor Phil Silver said the service was more about drink-driving than just youth.

Cr Sharon Cadwallader said it was not about funding, but planning it right.

Last year the service did not run late enough, when kids want to get home thats where it fell down. Next year we should start the planning process early and push the clubs for funding, she said.

Cr Alan Brown quipped that Council had missed the bus on the issue this year and should try to provide such a service but those who benefit from it should carry the can.

Councillors voted to look for a different funding option to run the bus next year.

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