– Priscilla Popp, staff
The city of Brantford may just get a little more accessible.
Plans for a new bus terminal are underway, and have the students and community of Brantford speculating about its impact, and perhaps more importantly, location.
A meeting held on February 2 gave residents a chance to explore first hand the process of deciding where the new terminal will be located.
There are six options in total, but the exact whereabouts remain under wraps until a more definitive decision is made.
“The need is there,” said Brantford city councilor Larry Kings, who chairs the committee building the new terminal.
He said that this isn’t the first time Brantford has anticipated a new transit system. The previous council carried out a study and had drawings made, but plans were cut short by the thirty million dollar price tag, as well as complications with parking.
“At this point we’ve outgrown the terminal,” said Elisabeth van der Made, Transit Operations Manager of Brantford.
The shortcomings of the previous attempt are trying to be avoided this time around.
Kings said that within the new terminal students should expect a more easily accessible and physically comfortable setting where they don’t feel confined.
Keeping suggestions from the public in mind, amenities such as fast food restaurants are still in the process of being decided upon. A dry cleaning service is one of the recommendations that have been heard.
“People want to have something where they can get to and move around downtown,” said Russ Loukes, Director of Transportation Services for the City of Brantford.
He said that the current bus terminal was built in the 80’s and doesn’t have the capacity for housing a growing community.
The issue of parking, and how significant a part of the terminal it should be remains to be decided.
Many Laurier Brantford students are hoping that the new terminal will lead to GO transit sometime in the near future. This would be especially helpful in providing residence students a ride home to their respective cities.
“If it does happen, we need to have the ability to house [GO transit] as well,” Kings said.
Loukes also said that considering the potential for GO transit is valuable and something that will be kept in mind.
Although there is no timetable and no set-in-stone plan for the GO expansion, hopes among students at Laurier remain high.
Until then, all the attention remains on Brantford’sproposed bus terminal, which could mean a whole new routine for both students and commuters.
“We have to build for the future and can’t just build for today,” van der Made said.
“Our expectation is that we’re going to move forward,” Kings said. “This time we’re going to get it done and finished.”