As of January 1, 2020, the long serving North Grenville Accessible Transportation (NGAT) will cease to exist. For many years, it has been a vision of the Board of Directors that we would be replaced by a private or municipal transportation endeavour that would provide an affordable and accessible service for all citizens of North Grenville. As of January 1, we will be one step closer to this vision becoming a reality.
During this past year, our Driver and Dispatch services have been contracted to Allegiance Transportation Services (ATS). Allegiance is owned and operated by Chris Mackay. Provision of these services, audited by the Board, have given ATS the opportunity to become familiar with, and understand what is involved in, providing door to door accessible service. When ATS takes over from NGAT full time, it will be an additional transit service offered by ATS, along with their commuter service to and from Ottawa.
During the twenty years of NGAT service, many changes have taken place in the community that come along with an increase in population, but one thing has been consistent; the dedication of the many volunteer members of The Board who first and foremost have focused on providing affordable and accessible transportation in this community. To that end, there is little doubt NGAT has been successful.
Taking a little trip down memory lane, NGAT got its start in 1999 in conjunction with Community Living North Grenville. Using the CLNG accessible van when it was available, attaching a magnetic sign, using a contracted driver, and a small volunteer Board, NGAT began the journey. Over the years, things changed as is of course normal when the word got around. Today, we have a much more suitable vehicle which was obtained via a Trillium grant. The vehicle is easily noticed around the region, with the names of many of our supporters displayed. As well, the services provided have expanded and have become more updated. The service is a credit to all and is still affordable and accessible.
During the history of NGAT, many have contributed to its success, and on the chance of not missing some, we will only hit some of the highlights. It goes without saying that many have contributed to the financial wellbeing of NGAT, from buying a ticket in one of the many raffles, or supporting various endeavours in conjunction with United Way of Leeds and Grenville, or buying a burger and dog at the O.P.P barbecues.
NGAT is of course indebted to the United Way and the Municipality of North Grenville for funding we received on an ongoing basis over the years. Various service clubs, such as the Knights of Columbus, Lions and Rotary, have been unwavering to our needs. We have also received continued support from businesses such as Brewed Awakenings, Class Axe “Kemptville Live”, Lockwood Brothers, MacEwen Gas Bar, Ottawa Valley Harvestor, Scotiabank, Wubs Transit/Precision Diesel (Winchester) and of course our advertisers displayed on the bus.
Now it is appropriate to mention three individuals that have been pillars to NGAT.
Harry Pratt was a true supporter and community leader. He often came up with ideas to raise funding for NGAT, and then on many occasions led the way, got donations, and sold the tickets on the prize he may well have obtained for us.
Gerry Tallman, a great citizen and benefactor. In 2013, the Truck Centre’s annual golf tournament provided NGAT with an incredible lift that kept the service viable for several years, along with his continued support.
David Shanahan, NG Times has been a consistent supporter over the years, and has on several occasions shone a light on our trials and tribulations, which often resulted in an outpouring of support.
To these people, organizations and businesses, we are so thankful for their coaching, support and backing.
In conclusion, the Board very gratefully acknowledges the support that we have received from our community, it has been a pleasure to provide the services of NGAT for these many years, which enabled us to provide accessible transportation at a reasonable rate. It has allowed many the opportunity to go to work, attend church, shopping, get to medical appointments, for entertaining/sport events, join with their family or just simply enjoy social time outside of their home.
The current Board of North Grenville Accessible Transportation, consisting of Dr. Don Gilchrist, Chair and members Brenda Dillabough, Jean Drozda, Peter Roberts, Patrick Shafer, Roger Shantz, Jon Stephen and Frank Onasanya salute the community and wish all the best to Allegiance Transportation Services.