Three Bathurst mothers who have been asking the government for the loan of a 21 passenger MFAV are pleased to announce that they have acquired a test vehicle from Girardin Minibus in Quebec and will proceed with independent tests of tires in Michigan next month.
Isabelle Hains, Marcella Kelly and Ana Acevedo say a number of companies and individuals have stated their firm support of the testing and it will go ahead the week of February 22.
Girardin Minibus of Quebec has donated the usage of a vehicle for the purpose of testing.
Ron Campbell, Sales Manager of MicroBird by Girardin Inc., says his company "wants to be involved."
"We're interested in utmost safety," says Mr. Campbell.
Continental Tires, one of the world's largest tire manufacturing companies, has offered free testing at its state of the art facility in Sault Ste. Marie Michigan.
Jay Spears, Technical Product Manager for Continental Tires said, "We look forward to this testing. It will show what is the best case scenario for these school vehicles. We are doing this without any agenda, the testing data will tell us everything."
Loblaws is supporting the mother's efforts by paying for the vehicle's transportation from Quebec to Michigan and back.
Inge van den Berg, Senior Vice President Corporate Affairs, said "Loblaws is providing funding to enable the testing to be conducted and hopefully help answer the questions that so many people have regarding the appropriate tire use for MFAVs. Loblaws is not involved in commenting on the validity of the testing nor is it speaking on behalf of the testing," she said.
A financial contribution from a New Brunswick supporter who wishes to remain anonymous will help defray some additional expenses.
The three Bathurst mothers say all they are interested in is "a fair, honest test that answers a very important question about school transportation safety."
They say they are willing to accept whatever the scientific tests conclude.
"When it comes to children's safety, there should be no doubt about what type of tires belong on these 21 passenger MFAVs" they say.
Veteran automotive journalist John Mahler of the Toronto Star's Wheels.ca adds,
"I am very happy that these ladies have persevered and got this test arranged. It will finally show what tires are safest for school vehicles. And their drive speaks to the power of individuals over government obstinancy."