The final member profile in our series – we’re sad to see it end! Thanks to Christopher Paetkau and Trevor Gill who made this project so exceptional – we’ve been so happy with them. Their dedication, hard creative work and willingness to be so open to direction made them an absolute pleasure to work with. Thanks also to our members who donated their time and energy (not all of you made the final cut!) for such lovely interviews.

DAVE on SHARING : Peg City Car Co-op from Peg City Car Co-op on Vimeo.

Dave doesn’t need pay to own a car for 30 days of the month just to pick up a few gallons of paint.

It’s a cost benefit analysis. The social cost of personal ownership – the time and energy invested in the production, purchase and maintenance of a vehicle – forces one to re-consider how useful it is for an individual to own one.

Dave’s answer is to share. He only pays for a car when he needs to use it and effectively spreads the costs of owning a vehicle over the wider membership in the co-operative. It’s a different kind of ownership – instead of “my” car, it’s “our” car.

For more information about Co-ops, including how 2012 has been declared by the United Nations as the International Year of the Co-op, visit the Share Alike section on our About page.

Thanks to Assiniboine Credit Union for making this possible!

VIDEOS: Shauna on Cost

The third of our Member Profiles features Shauna talking about the true costs of vehicle ownership.

SHAUNA on COST: Peg City Car Co-op from Peg City Car Co-op on Vimeo.

Shauna’s home is a mess – and it’s all because of the carshare.

She and her family were able to save for a down payment on a new house because they don’t own a car. They moved in a few months ago and are still in the process of unpacking.

With carsharing, the cost of using a vehicle is kept stable. Maintenance, insurance, parking and gas are all covered in the usage rates of $3 per booking, $3 per hour and $0.40* per kilometre.

For more information on the true costs of owning a vehicle, please see our Save Money section in the About Carsharing page.

Thanks to Assiniboine Credit Union for making this possible.

Environmental Concern? There’s a Group For That!

Great article in the Winnipeg Free Press this week by Lindsay Wiebe on the environmental groups in and around Winnipeg:

It ain’t easy being green — and it can be even more challenging if, like that famous Muppet amphibian, you’re the only one.

Whether you’re a solo crusader against office printer excess or the lone staff member dedicated to environmental issues in an otherwise oblivious workforce, the green-minded can sometimes find themselves a little socially isolated.

Well, there’s a group for that. A lot of them, actually.

From cycling advocacy to river cleanups to species at risk, Manitoba has a group for most every environmental cause on the radar. And for those seeking strength in numbers, joining an organization can provide some support environmentally focused folks might not find elsewhere.

Your eco-values might not always be shared by your flesh-and-blood family, but a green group can fill that void, said Beth McKechnie, who works on workplace commuting at the Green Action Centre and is one of the founders of the Peg City Car Co-op.

“It’s almost like this other family, where you do have that same sort of environmental ethic,” she said.

If you are struck by a whim or New Year’s resolve to give more of your time to the environment, be sure you have a good sense of what you’d really like to be doing, said McKechnie. “One of the things, especially for environmental groups, is that we tend to be small and under-resourced,” she said.

Volunteering could mean anything from joining a board or staffing a booth at a fair to cleaning up a shoreline, but be sure the activity you’re volunteering for is something you’ll enjoy, particularly if you’re getting training in a particular area.

“If you’re clear about the skills that you bring, what it is that interests you most in contributing to that organization, that’s really critical,” said McKechnie, pointing out that for those without time to spare, the gift of cash can be just as helpful.

If you’re hoping to start a group from the ground up, McKechnie said it’s essential to do your homework first. She recalls speaking with people who were ready to embark on environmental projects before figuring out that other groups were already tackling the same challenges.

Starting from scratch can be a long slog: McKechnie said at the time the Peg City Car Co-op was founded, the group knew it would be at least a three- to five-year commitment. The group launched in 2011.

“Sometimes, there are those volunteer commitments that you get into in a big way, and you know it’s going to take some time,” she said.

And with all the emotional energy you’re likely to invest, “it’s just as important that you enjoy who you’re working and volunteering with,” she said.

Like most non-profit or advocacy groups, environmental organizations in the province tend to be supported by both a core of green devotees and a more fluctuating roster of volunteers.

And that core of staff members and volunteers has a group of its own: Green Drinks, a monthly meet-up that’s more about letting loose than discussing eco-advocacy.

“I think it’s about staying connected with other people in the environmental community,” said Liz Dykman, who got the monthly gathering started about five years ago.

The group usually meets on the first Friday of the month at the Lo Pub on Ellice Avenue, though the venue has varied over the years. Dykman — programs co-ordinator for the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment, and Green Drinks organizer in her off time — got the idea from Green Drinks series happening in other cities.

“I feel like we’re pretty isolated in the environmental community,” said Josh Brandon, who works in communications with the Green Action Centre.

“It reminds us that we aren’t working alone in our little silos, but part of a broader movement.”

Groups in other locales often have scheduled speakers, but this is a largely casual affair and open to everyone — a chance to catch up with friends and colleagues over a beer or veggie burger. There’s a bit of hashing over environmental issues, or sharing updates on current campaigns, but for the most part, it’s just for fun.

At the January gathering, a group of about 25 people including NGO workers, dedicated volunteers and government environmental staff filled up three tables, a cluster of couches and a corner by the bar.

Shoni Litinsky, who sits on the board of the Peg City Car Co-op, says she meets great people working on various projects, but “you never get a chance to let loose and hang out with them,” outside of Green Drinks.

“I feel like this is the way you build a community,” she said.

Videos: Chris on Simplicity

In the second installment of our video series, Chris talks about the Simplicity of carsharing.

CHRIS on SIMPLICITY : Peg City Car Co-op from Peg City Car Co-op on Vimeo.

Why does Chris carshare? He doesn’t drive a lot and usually walks or cycles to work. The added costs of a vehicle, insurance and maintenance add up. In the end they hardly seem worth it. It’s only $500 to join, and he only needs a car once or twice a week at the most.

Chris uses a car for groceries, to visit his parents in the ‘burbs and when he goes on dates. Getting out of awkward date is made easier if the car needs to get back ‘on time’.

Carsharing is good for someone like him, for where he lives and what he does.

[Chris has inspired our tertiary tagline: “Bike. Walk. Bus. And Sometimes, Date.”]

Thanks to Assiniboine Credit Union for making this possible.

VIDEOS: Amanda on Utility

This is the first in our series of introductory videos on carsharing in Winnipeg. Here, real member Amanda talks about the Utility of being part of the co-op.

AMANDA on UTILITY : Peg City Car Co-op from Peg City Car Co-op on Vimeo.

Amanda does not want to own a car. She lives close to her amenities and usually rides her bike or walks to where she needs to go.

A car, however, is admittedly useful when your hobbies include large-canvas painting and baking copious volumes of delicious goodies. Attaining materials for her extra-curricular activities, and the delivery of those wonderfully refined goods are some of the examples of Amanda’s occasional use of a vehicle.

Membership in a carshare co-op allows her access to a car for all of its convenience, without the hassle of ownership. “Sorted,” as she says.

Thanks to Assiniboine Credit Union for making this possible.