March 26th, 2007 - News

Vancouver car co-op could lose out at city hall
A pioneering Vancouver car-sharing co-op is raising concerns about the possibility that a city car-sharing contract may go to an American-based firm. Officials at Vancouver city hall recently put out a call for bids to run a car-sharing service for a fleet of 40 vehicles. So far, two private American companies, ZipCar and Flexcar, have expressed interest. The founder of Vancouver's Co-operative Auto Network doesn't think the non-profit group should have to fight for the contract. Tracey Axelsson said CAN, the first co-op of its kind in North America, should have been the natural choice to supply the new city fleet. "For me, sustainability means support local, at the very outset of all things. You know, if you can buy a B.C. apple or a California apple, if you really want a sustainable economy, you buy the B.C. apple."

It's in the wind
An ambitious move is afoot to organize tobacco farmers into a wind-energy co-operative. The campaign kicked offhere last week with a well-attended information open house. The gathering was sponsored by Farmers for Economic Opportunity (FEO), a spinoff group of Tobacco Farmers In Crisis. In partnership with Allus Power Inc. of London, FEO is attempting to assemble at least 5,000 acres of farmland with high-quality wind resources. FEO is attempting to get as many tobacco farmers as possible to sign a contract stating they will not negotiate their wind rights with any other organization for at least 12 months. FEO plans to take the year to negotiate a wind-farm profit-sharing arrangement with Allus. “I believe we can come up with something that will be hard to turn down,” said FEO organizer Jon Lechowicz of Burford, Ont. “There’s money in energy. That’s why Exxon is pulling down a billion dollars a day. This could be a model for the rest of Canada. The potential could be limitless.”