There’s now a way for people to drive in Qualicum Beach without owning their own car, with the arrival of the region’s first carshare car.
Qualicum Beach’s Ken Walker initiated the idea of bringing a branch of Nanaimo CarShare to town, as he watched the concept grow across North America and used the service himself.
There are booming programs in most larger cities, with over 16,000 members in Vancouver for example, as well as smaller places like Kaslo, Nelson and the Sunshine Coast where more than 100 members share five cars.
Walker touts the environmental and fiscal benefits, suggesting there are people who live within easy walking distance of the village centre in Qualicum Beach and only occasionally need a car for a big shopping trip, or when their grandchildren visit.
The Nanaimo CarShare Toyota Corolla sedan is now based in a designated spot provided by the Town of Qualicum Beach, across from Pharmasave.
Through the support of the Coastal Community Credit Union, there are half-price memberships available, said Walker.
Anyone can sign up with the non-profit co-operative and use the car for a $500 one time share purchase which is refundable when the member leaves the coop, plus use-based fees that are usually lower than renting a car for shorter distances.
Along with there not being a car rental office in Qualicum Beach, Walker pointed to statistics that “people plan their trips better when they have to pay as they go, people walk more, use transit more, bike more.”
“Every carshare car takes several cars off the road,” he added of the average of 20 members per car, which he said helps everyone, including city planners and developers, who then require less space for parking.
Local membership also provides easy access to nearly 500 shared vehicles in Vancouver, Victoria and the Sunshine Coast.
Walker said one of the best uses for him is to take the ferry to Vancouver and pick up a carshare car on the otherside, saving a lot in ferry fees.
Visit nanaimocarshare.ca or call 1-250-741-4141 for more information.