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St Ives sponsors public transport in Kambalda

Monday, 2 November 2015

Relief is in sight for Kambalda and Coolgardie residents who have been stranded without public transport to Kalgoorlie for the past two years.

TransGoldfields, on behalf of the Public Transport Authority, will introduce a six-month trial of two return services between Kambalda and Kalgoorlie on Saturdays, and two return services from Coolgardie to Kalgoorlie on Thursdays from early next month.

The move comes after residents, the Shire of Coolgardie, and local politicians lobbied for the services, after a change in regulations meant members of the public could no longer access school bus routes.

Shire of Coolgardie president Malcolm Cullen said the lack of public transport had been raised by constituents verbally and in writing at least 50 times in the past two years.

He said the issue had been a priority for the Shire, and it was only when the local government received a $20,000 helpline from Gold Fields, owners of the St Ives gold mine near Kambalda, that the wheels were put in motion for the $50,000 trial. “We are just hoping that from here people will support the service, that is the most important thing,” he said.

Gold Fields vice-president and head of sustainable development Philip Woodhouse said the company jumped at the chance to support an initiative that would support community wellbeing and improve connectivity.

Kambalda resident Melanie Allan was blindsided when she arrived in the Goldfields town three-and-a-half years ago to find there was no public transport.

“was very, very strange moving to a town where there was absolutely nothing,” she said.

“I see every single day how it affects people in this town because there are a lot of mums that don’t drive, there are a lot of people that don’t have a second car and it’s not a fun drive to do Kambalda to Kalgoorlie, especially those who are elderly.”

As a probationary driver, Ms Allan is not confident to drive the 60km to Kalgoorlie alone because of the many road trains that use the route.

The mother-of-two said because of the lack of public transport options, she had been forced to book any medical appointments around her husband’s shift work.

After dealing with the tyranny of distance for the past two years, Ms Allan is adamant the new bus routes will make a “huge” difference to people’s lives.

Impressed by those who had worked tirelessly to have the service instated, Member for Eyre Graham Jacobs urged Coolgardie and Kambalda residents to use it.

“It is very important now that the community vote with the feet and use the bus,” he said.

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