A local man is aiming to provide better access to tools for residents of Penticton through a co-op.
Inspired by the Vancouver Tool Library, Isaac Gilbert is hoping to start a similar idea here and is looking for those in the community who would be interested in getting it off the ground.
The co-op would rent out tools to the people of Penticton at a lower cost than regular tool rentals.
“Also getting access to a lot of speciality tools and common tools. I don’t think you can really rent hammers or screwdrivers at the hardware store,” Gilbert said.
The current proposed structure is a community service co-operative, with members buying a share to enter. Entry into the co-op also gives members an opportunity to vote and have influence on governance.
Gilbert is aiming at an annual maintenance fee of $45 to maintain the tools. He’s also looking to offer non-profit organizations the ability to authorize five people for access for $150 annually.
Members could have access to hand tools free for 10 days. Gilbert is also looking to bring lawn maintenance, garden and trail building tools along with other speciality tools.
“There’s the possibility to also move into 3D printers as well,” Gilbert said.
Much like a library, the co-op would have late fees, something around $5 a day for power tools and $10 a day for larger power tools.
“However being a co-operative we’re at the beginning going to be a bit more flexible about that. If you have a longer project and so forth, it’s like a library, just call in and see if anyone else has interest in it and the idea is that we would be able to extend it for five days if you need to get a project done,” Gilbert said.
Having recently moved to Penticton, Gilbert himself was looking for access to tools.
“I have a lot of projects. I like to build my own desk, I like to build my own things, my own furniture, my own small projects, but I don’t have the tools and I don’t feel like spending all the money to be able to do that,” Gilbert said.
“My motivation is trying to change the culture of how we think about business. In the world in general and moving forward into a more co-operative movement than a competitive movement,” Gilbert said. “Instead of competing with one another it’s a co-operative way. We all come together, we decide how the business is run. It’s basically trying to give the people back the economy.”
Gilbert plans on applying for local grants, but hopes to not rely on them.
“I want to be able to make it so it’s a self-sustainable system,” Gilbert said.
Gilbert is hoping to combine the tool library with a workshop space as well.
“So that you don’t have to only bring tools out, we’ll have tools for you to use in a workshop space as well,” Gilbert said.
To allay some of the up-front costs, Gilbert would like to see some of the more common tools donated to the co-op.
“If you donate we’ll give you credit towards renting the space or borrowing the tools from us. That’s what I’m hoping for is we get donations from the general public,” Gilbert said.
Those interested can contact Gilbert at 778-789-5747.