Amy Stewart

Community dollars go into circulation in Nelson

Local currency can be purchased from non-profits and spent at participating businesses.

The first Columbia Community Dollars went into circulation Wednesday.

Every business that has agreed to accept community dollars as payment was given $1,000 of the new currency per full-time employee, which they then handed over to a non-profit society of their choice.

John Ward Fine Coffee owner Amy Stewart, for example, passed the money she received onto Transition Nelson and the Latitude Project.

“We didn’t have to buy the money, we just pick who to give it to,” said Stewart.

Some of the other non-profits that businesses chose to give community dollars to include West Kootenay EcoSociety, Kootenay Car Share Co-op, and Kootenay Co-op Radio.

Those non-profits are now responsible for selling the currency at face value.

Anyone who buys the currency can spend it at participating local businesses that have the community dollars logo displayed in the window.

Some participating businesses include John Ward Fine Coffee, Kootenay Co-op Bakery, Bia Boro Apparel and Otter Books.

Letty Bartels, a Transition Nelson board member and owner of Otter Books, said it’s up to participating businesses how they spend the community dollars that come through the till.

“I can use it for my business to buy goods and services from other businesses that accept community dollars or give it to employees as part of their wage,” she explained.

For more information about Columbia Community Dollars and the businesses accepting them, visit


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