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Car co-op hits bumpy road

Car co-op hits bumpy road

At a special general meeting on Nov. 29, about 30 members of the Coast Car Co-op heard good news and bad news from their board of directors.

The good news: usage of the co-op’s five vehicles has been steadily increasing and the organization is very close to a break-even cash flow.

The bad news: the co-op needs to pay down its debt and establish contingency funds in order to be financially viable.

Co-op Treasurer Mark Cameron walked the members through financial statements, explaining that the co-op faced unexpected challenges when their pick-up truck was in an accident and written off—not once but twice, in a year—causing loss of income as well as unexpected expense.

The organization has been surviving month to month, but it requires a cushion to pay for accidents, repairs, and membership reimbursements. Cameron said that the co-op needs to raise $30,000 in donations in 2018 and refinance its remaining debt. Or, he suggested, they could aim for an “audacious goal” of raising $120,000, which would leave them debt free.

Cameron, and co-op president Bruce Devereux, asked members to “keep the faith” and help with fundraising and promotion. A GoFundMe campaign will kick off later this month to accept online donations.

Interviewed later by email, Devereux said: “I feel this recent meeting injected a new level of energy into the organization. Immediately following the meeting, we have struck a new fundraising committee that has hit the ground running and will host a great event in January of 2018. As a board, we are really looking forward to where 2018 takes us.”

Coast Car Co-op was the sixth non-profit car cooperative to start in British Columbia. It incorporated in 2013 and currently has over 100 member drivers. The fleet consists of a sedan, hatchback, hybrid, pick-up truck and van. One vehicle is stationed in Sechelt, one in Roberts Creek, and three in Gibsons.

The co-op partners with Modo, a Vancouver carshare with over 500 vehicles. Devereux said: “Modo has been a great supporter of Coast Car Coop before we launched in March of 2014 and continues to be a valued asset in our ongoing operations. They share expertise and firmly believe in the power of the cooperative movement of car sharing.”

Fully refundable Coast Car Co-op memberships are $400, and vehicles are booked at hourly or daily rates. Members may also use vehicles from other Canadian carshares in locations including Vancouver, Nanaimo, Victoria, Kelowna, and Regina.

The co-op is run by a volunteer board of directors and has one part-time employee who manages operations. Online bookings are made via software developed by Modo.

Donna McMaho

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