Monday, December 22, 2008

Covering some of the losses from the transit strike

A couple of news items over the weekend (thanks to Cold Commuter for pointing them out), both having to do with covering some of the losses as a result of the OC Transpo strike.

First of all, according to the Ottawa Citizen, the City is apparently looking into ways of compensating businesses who've lost out because of the strike. According to the article, possibilities include tax breaks for the businesses. There were no motions put forward to compensate inconvenienced residents, though, many of whom pay surcharges on their property taxes for public transit. From the Citizen article:

As the city prepares to sit down with striking bus drivers today, municipal officials will be looking for ways to compensate businesses for any losses incurred by the transit strike -- a hunt that could even consider property-tax breaks.

The idea, put forward by Somerset Councillor Diane Holmes, passed by a vote of 16-5 after a closed-door council meeting on the resumption of negotiations with the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 279, which represents 2,300 striking drivers, mechanics and dispatchers.
Also, with all the talk about the Salvation Army's kettle campaign taking a hit as a result of the transit strike, with volunteers unable to fill shifts and less people getting around, Wal-Mart Canada has announced a donation of $50,000 to the Ottawa Salvation Army. The Citizen reported that the donation, along with strong community support, has given the campaign a much better chance of meeting its $500,000 target:
This year, Ottawa's transit strike dilemma caught the company's attention. Before the donation was announced, the drive was about $60,000 behind what it should have been, said [Salvation Army spokesman Michael] Maidment.


Despite encountering a severe volunteer shortage during the strike, Mr. Maidment said the Ottawa community has come to the rescue, offering hope that kettles will be staffed for the remainder of the drive, which ends Christmas Eve.

"Folks have been coming forward with their own transportation, just to get the kettles out," he said, estimating that the organization has had about 100 new volunteers rush in to fill the gap.

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