Kootenay CarShare parks in Rossland

Arlen MacLaine
By Arlen MacLaine
August 22nd, 2013

Rossland is getting its own branch of the Kootenay Carshare Co-op.  The successful non-profit organization already has branches in Nelson, Revelstoke, Kaslo, Fernie, and Kimberley, with Rossland being the latest edition.  The move was spearheaded by the Sustainability Commission’s Energy Taskforce, and received support from the Nelson District Credit Union, Kootenay Savings Credit Union, Columbia Basin Community Initiative for Area B, and the city of Rossland.

“What a co-op needs is a very exciting group of people to make it happen, and that’s what we have here,” said Alex Loeb, a volunteer with the Sustainability Commission’s Energy Taskforce.  “We’re always looking to reduce carbon footprints, and this is one of the ways to do it.”

Rossland makes a good choice as a hub for the CarShare because of how compact the downtown area.

“People can walk everywhere in Rossland, but some errands could require a vehicle,” said Loeb.  For people who only use a vehicle a few times per week, being a member of the carshare co-op can be a cheaper, easier, and stress-free option to owning a vehicle.  Members get all the benefits of having a car, but without having to worry about insurance or maintenance costs.  The only thing members pay for is gas and mileage when they are using the vehicle.  With memberships for businesses as well, the co-op can be a viable option for businesses of any size who are looking to save some money and be part of a green initiative.

“Originally, 10 people were needed to sign up, and 6 to 8 thousand dollars needed to be raised,” said Loeb. These benchmarks have been met, with help from the afore mentioned groups. Each branch has a coordinator, who is paid in ‘carshare bucks’, and  Rossland’s branch coordinator is Ann Damude.

To join, members pay a membership share, produce a driving record going back three years, attend a brief orientation, and are then ready to hit the road.  To book a vehicle, members need only visit the co-op’s website, log in, and then check the booking calendar.  

People who become members of the Rossland branch are also members of the entire Kootenay region’s carshare, meaning they can reserve vehicles in any of the region’s carshare locations.  There are also affiliate memberships available, at no extra cost, for carshares in Victoria and Vancouver.

As it stands now, the next step for the Rossland carshare is purchasing its first vehicle.  “The first vehicle will be a car that is good for multiple uses,” said Loeb.  “Of course, there is demand for trucks, but we’ll see how it goes.”  Loeb is optimistic for it to be up and running for early September

“The most important thing, is for people who are interested to sign up,” said Loeb.  More members translates into more vehicles in the fleet, and more options for members.

“I see a lot of people in Rossland who need 1.5 cars.”

Anyone interested in becoming a member, or more information can email Alex Loeb at alexandra.w.loeb@gmail.com.

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