The City of Fort Saskatchewan has signed on to take part in a regional commission aimed at creating integrated transit service in the Edmonton metropolitan area.
The cities of Edmonton and St. Albert, founding members of the Regional Transit Services Commission, requested Fort Saskatchewan’s participation in the initiative last month.
Fort Saskatchewan council voted to say yes to the invitation on Tuesday (Jul.10) and also chose two representatives, councillors Deanna Lennox and Gordon Harris, to attend the commission’s meetings on the city’s behalf.
"The regional commission is really presenting a different mindset to transit service delivery. It's going from a focus of what is good for one city to a focus of what is good for all cities in the Edmonton region," said city transit supervisor Anthony Dionigi in a presentation to council.
The regional commission has a three-phase plan in the works to develop a unified, affordable transit service that will give citizens a way to more easily get around the Edmonton area.
The commission asked the city to join in the conversation as phase 2 gets underway.
"We went to council to ask for participation in phase 2 of the commission, which is basically coming to the table and establishing the scope and bylaws of the commission. And this really comes at no risk at the moment because we're just signing on to a memorandum of understanding and not quite fully committed to the commission," Dionigi said.
Like the rest of council, Ed Sperling voted in favour of joining in the regional transit effort.
"I think that any time we can work collaboratively in the region on any type of service, I think there's some best practices we can probably identify and maybe apply to our service here in Fort Saskatchewan," he said.
Final route planning and service operations will not begin until phase 3, expected to start in 2019.
Each municipal partner will send two elected officials to take part in discussions at the commission’s meetings. Harris and Lennox will be representing Fort Saskatchewan until October.
"I am excited to be part of the process and I think being part of this commission is a great way to do that. Obviously I am a big supporter of transit and also feel like it would be a great opportunity to experience a little bit more of what it is like to collaborate with our regional partners,” Lennox said.