Kootenay Carshare raising money for wheelchair van

The Get a Lift project is looking for grants and for donations from the public.

The Get a Lift project has put a down payment on this wheelchair van

The Get a Lift project has put a down payment on this wheelchair van

The Get a Lift project wants to buy a wheelchair van to be used by Kootenay Carshare members in the Nelson area.

“We did a community survey and got 120 responses. Forty people said they would use the van if it was available,” the carshare’s Colleen Doyle said in an interview.

They already have the vehicle picked out a 2008 Dodge Grand Caravan in Kelowna priced at $30,000 and they’ve put a $5,000 deposit on it. The group plans to raise an additional $30,000 to cover insurance, maintenance, and administration for the next three years.

The project is a partnership between the carshare, the Seniors Coordinating Society, and Nelson CARES’ Age Friendly Initiative.

Doyle said the carshare board thought long and hard about the feasibility of the purchase but the results of the survey convinced them.

“Most people who replied were from Nelson, but there were people in the surrounding area who said they would come in to use it,” she said.

The group wants to raise the money by May and will apply for a variety of grants but they also hope for tax deductible donations from the public, made to the Seniors’ Coordinating Society.

Doyle said is makes sense for the carshare to take this on because “we have the infrastructure to rent vehicles out by the hour.”

Corinne Younie, who runs the Age Friendly Initiative, says that although BC Transit has low-floor accessible buses and HandyDart, “neither of those services run every day or in every West Kootenay community, nor are they appropriate to every senior’s needs.

“This will plug a gap,” she said. “It will give people the ability to take Mom out for the afternoon for lunch, or get someone to a social event.

“We look at transportation as a network of services,” Younie continued. “No one service will meet everyone’s needs. Transportation is the hub of the wheel of life. For many it is the single greatest barrier they face to have a full, happy life.”

To discuss potential grant funding or to make a charitable donation, contact Nelson and District Seniors Coordinating Society at 250-352-6008 or the Kootenay Carshare at 250-352-2033.