Kathy Latour has a new place to park her school bus close to home, thanks to the generosity of Lake Report readers and a NOTL hotel company.
Latour, a Niagara-on-the-Lake resident and school bus driver, was recently forced to stop parking her half-sized bus in her John Street driveway after her neighbour Jim Rossiter called her employer to complain.
After reading the story in the office last Thursday, Bob Jackson, chief executive of Lais Hotels Properties Ltd., contacted The Lake Report wanting to connect with Latour to offer the use of a company lot down the street.
“We were just chatting about it in the office and someone else suggested, 'Listen we've got space, why don't we just let her park here?' and I thought, 'Great,' which is when I reached out to (The Lake Report),” Jackson said in an interview.
While he's aware the story generated a lot of community interest, he said the company really is not looking for any publicity.
“We saw someone that we thought we might be able to help out, and it looks like we can, so that's good. So hopefully things die down on that side,” Jackson said.
“We obviously look at The Lake Report and you get those interesting kind of neighbourhood stories. We're a neighbour, too. I know we're a business but we all share the same space, so we're glad to help.”
Latour said she's grateful to Jackson for the offer, which makes things a little easier for her. It's “a wonderful neighbourly solution.”
She said she'll still need to drive to the parking lot near the Pillar and Post.
“I still have to get in my car to go down there every day because I have really bad knees and I can't walk that far.”
She said Jackson told her she can park her vehicle on the property in between shifts, too.
She said she met Jackson to thank him and found out they have some geographic history in common.
“I went down and introduced myself to Bob and turns out we're both from Sault Ste. Marie. He was born there and I lived there for 36 years. So, yeah, it was kind of neat. The northern experience.”
She said she still needs to get the OK from her employer DanNel Coach Lines.
“But not until school goes back,” she said.
She anticipates there won't be an issue. “It's a commercial parking area, so there cannot be any problem.”
“It's not locked up in the company's yard every night. So, it will present its own set of problems but hopefully, nobody will bother it.”
Jackson said he told her to get in touch whenever she's ready and school starts again.
Latour said she's been encouraged by the public support she received.
“I think that's pretty marvellous that the community is standing together,” she said.
“I really appreciate that the article brought so many people together, even just with their comments.”
In the meantime, she said she's received offers from neighbours to build her a school bus ornament for the yard.
“Two people have offered to build me one,” she said. “You know, life goes on.”