By Rob Vogt, Local Press Writer
The Claresholm and District Transportation Society has added a new van to its fleet to better serve the needs of its clients.
On Jan. 19, the society announced they had purchased a 2017 wheelchair-accessible van to replace a 2006 and 2010 vans in their fleet.
The new van is rear-loading with spaces for wheel chairs, seats for three passengers and the driver.
Four years ago the Claresholm Lions Club began setting aside $8,000 per year for the purpose of replacing one van every five to seven years for the Claresholm and District Transportation Society.
The total cost of the van was about $44,000 so matching funds were provided by Alberta Lotteries through a Community Initiatives Program grant.
The society provides transportation for medical appointments and purposes.
In 2017, the society completed more than 1,150 trips, averaging almost 100 trips per month to Lethbridge, Calgary, Pincher Creek, the Crowsnest Pass, Okotoks, High River and Vulcan.
The society currently has a fleet of four vans, with three of them wheelchair-accessible, and a list of eight drivers.
Seniors over the age of 60 and anyone with disabilities is eligible to use the society’s services.
They serve the Town of Claresholm and the communities in and the residents of the Municipal District of Willow Creek.
The Claresholm and District Transportation Society is governed by a board of nine members with representation from Claresholm, the M.D. of Willow Creek, Vulcan County, Stavely, and Granum, and Lyal O’Neill is the chief administrative officer of the society.
Operations are funded partially by municipal grants, but the biggest part comes from fees charged clients. Users may also be eligible for refunds through the Alberta Seniors’ Benefit or other charitable organizations.
However, the society is still dependent on donations from service clubs and individuals, and they are always looking for more support.
They are also a registered society, so donations will be eligible for a tax receipt.
The society has opened an account with Community Foundation of Lethbridge and Southwestern Alberta, so they are able to take bequests of funds, which may come when people are succession planning.
Any funds left to the Claresholm and District Transportation Society as a bequest are held in trust through this account with the Community Foundation of Lethbridge and Southwestern Alberta.
Anyone interested in more information can contact Lyal O’Neill, chief administrative officer of the Claresholm and District Transportation Society, at 403-625-4455.