Sometimes a lifestyle change — a new career, children leaving home or relocating — can create an opportunity to seriously explore green transportation options. These might include walking or riding a bike to work, reducing your number of vehicles, or joining a cooperative transportation program like Kootenay Carshare. One Rossland couple did all of the above.
Randy and Ann Blaskovich made the move to Rossland 18 years ago when Randy was hired by Teck Trail Operations. At that time they had four young children. Now, with all their children grown and moved away, their transportation needs have changed.
Randy commutes to his job in Trail by car in the winter, but chooses to ride his bike to and from work as often as possible in the spring, summer and fall.
“I work as a casual librarian in Rossland and usually walk downtown.” said Ann. “We realized last year that our second car spent most of the week sitting in the garage. Owning a second car was an expense that we wanted to try to cut out of our budget and this seemed like a good opportunity.”
“I have used the bus on occasion, but it is difficult to do a big grocery shop or run several errands at a time by bus. The Carshare was really the only other option,” she said.
The Blaskovichs joined the Rossland Branch of Kootenay Carshare last September. Ann, who was already in the habit of walking into town, finds picking up the vehicle at its central downtown location quite convenient and not a big adjustment.
“The biggest adjustment is a mind thing,” said Randy. “You don’t have the same convenience. We’ll compare in one year against owning. The two things are cost and convenience.”
The Kootenay Carshare Cooperative was originally started by a group of friends in Nelson and has grown to more than 200 members sharing 22 vehicles in six Kootenay communities. Rossland currently has one car and 14 members. The car is parked for easy access behind Nelson and District Credit Union in a spot reserved for it and provided by the City.
“I usually try to plan all my errands and appointments that require the use of a car for the same day anyway, so that hasn’t really changed now that we are part of Carshare,” said Ann.
“One thing that might become more difficult is offering to give someone else a ride to, for example, an appointment. However, right now the car is generally available on short notice.”
Booking is done online on a first-come, first-served basis. Users pay membership, rental and mileage fees. If Rossland’s car is not available when a Rossland member wants it, a message goes out to the person who has booked it to see if there are any options.
An additional member benefit is reciprocal agreements with other Carshare Co-ops in Vancouver and Victoria.
“We considered using a carshare co-op vehicle in Vancouver,” said Randy. “It would make it a lot easier and it costs hardly anything.”
Although only four months into their membership, the Blaskovichs are taking advantage of the carshare vehicle and adjusting to their new lifestyle. Time will tell, but at the moment it is a commitment they will stick to.
“Our goal is to get a second vehicle, perhaps a truck,” said Ann Damude, member and coordinator of the Rossland branch. “But we will need a few more new members who will use the carshare vehicle regularly before we can expand.”
To find our more on Kootenay Carshare Co-op visit www.carsharecoop.ca. For more information on sustainability initiatives in Rossland, visit the Rossland Sustainability Commission website at www.visionstoaction.ca or like us on facebook www.facebook.com/RosslandSustainability.
Communications for Rossland Sustainability Commission