By Ida Koric, Rossland News
Progress continues on the Rossland branch of the Kootenay Carshare Co-op (KCC).
The core membership necessary for the group to move forward has been achieved, and drivers will be able to access the shared vehicles by November.
Thus far, 80 per cent of the funding needed to purchase the first vehicle in the fleet has been secured thanks to a number of dedicated local sponsors. Once Rossland acquires its own vehicle, the KCC will provide a second, allowing for greater dependability and availability for the membership.
The initial vehicle will be a small, four-wheel drive, SUV-type, to allow for members to be able to transport a reasonable number of goods and to have towing capabilities. KCC will most likely provide an efficient commuter car, similar to the Honda Civic, ideal for running errands or weekend getaways.
Membership in the co-op costs $5 per month, with car usage billed as a combination of time and mileage. Members can book the vehicle on-line for as little as half an hour, to as much as three consecutive days.
“It’s a cost-effective, hassle-free alternative to car ownership,” said Ann Damude, manager of the Rossland KCC branch. “We take care of maintenance, insurance, cleaning, oil-changes, everything that an owner would have to incur the costs for themselves.”
A $500 deposit is required up-front in the event of damage or traffic violations, but a payment plan is available for those who may struggle to come up with the funds up front.
Once a Kootenay Carshare member, a driver is able to access vehicles in all member communities, including Nelson, Fernie, Vernon, Kimberley and Revelstoke. The local co-op also has a reciprocal agreement with similar car share groups in Vancouver and Victoria, allowing for those vehicles to be accessed as well, though at a higher cost than what is available locally.
The greater the core membership and usage, the larger the co-op is able to grow. The Rossland branch is hoping to target seasonal residents who may not have their own vehicle, individuals who work in town and only need a vehicle occasionally, as well as households that have a second car that might be parked often enough to make it financially unviable.
“I’ve become addicted to the idea of a second car myself,” Damude said. “We have this belief that it brings a sense of freedom, but I keep very close track of my monthly expenditures for that vehicle, and joining the co-op would save me a lot of money.”
In true Rossland spirit, both vehicles in the fleet will be dog friendly, despite the Nelson branch’s advice to do otherwise.
“We’re a much smaller market than Nelson, with special considerations. We want the co-op to fit with what Rosslanders need,” Damude explained.
One of the things Rosslanders seem to need is access to a shared pick-up truck. Three vehicles is simply not possible with the small core membership that has committed thus far, but the hope is for the co-op to grow and make the addition of specialty vehicles a goal for the future.
Interested parties can learn more, or sign up for membership, on the parent cooperative’s website: www.carsharecoop.ca.