By Timothy Schafer, The Nelson Daily
One week after a community group in Nelson announced they would be releasing a currency in spring in the city, a Columbia Basin-wide community currency will also be released in conjunction in several West Kootenay communities.
In less than two months, Community Dollars will hit the streets of the Columbia Basin in Nelson, Kimberley and Fernie, designed by Nelson's Robert Strutin, creative director for IMU Studios.
Nelsonite Bradley Roulston told Nelson City council last week the currency would help keep dollars in the community, be on par with the Canadian dollar, and had over 100 people and 80 Nelson businesses on board already.
Using photographs from the entire region, Community Dollars will be available to residents of the Columbia Basin in denominations of one, two, five, 10, 20, 50 and 100 on Earth Day, April 22.
To ensure communities are ready to use Community Dollars, coordinators in Nelson, Kimberley and Fernie have been responding to the growing demand for information.
Online and community-based sessions have been scheduled throughout March and April, and anyone interested in participating are encouraged to attend.
Getting up to speed on currency
Online sessions about the currency will take place from 6-7 p.m. on Thursday, March 10; Tuesday, March 22; Tuesday, March 29; Thursday, April 7; and Tuesday, April 12. Space is limited and registration is encouraged.
Face-to-face workshops will be held in Nelson, Kimberley and Fernie starting on March 8. For details, visit communitydollars.ca/workshops.
To learn more about Community Dollars and get involved, visit communitydollars.ca.
How it works
Businesses donate Community Dollars (C$) to a local community group or non-profit organization.
C$1,000 (Community Dollars, not Canadian) per full-time employee is the suggested amount. By doing this, the business may qualify to receive a federal tax deduction from the organization, if the organization is a registered charity.
This act of giving is shown as a debit in the account of the business and a credit in the account of the local organization. No Canadian Dollars or ‘hard cash’ is donated by the business, only Community Dollars (C$).
The businesses is not ‘out of pocket’ in any way. The donation becomes an agreement by the business that it will accept Community Dollars C$ as full payment or a part payment (a percentage) of the purchase price of the products or services that the business sells to its customers.
The organization now has C$ credited to their account and can contact the Community Dollars Administration to request actual C$ be delivered to them.
The organization can now offer their C$ to people in exchange for their CAD$ on a dollar for dollar exchange (1 C$ for 1 CAD$). This becomes a simple and effective way for an organization to raise funds as it now has CAD$ to use for its operations.
People do not lose their spending power as they now have the same amount in C$ which they can use to purchase products or services from businesses who accept C$.
In effect, a person who exchanges CAD$ for C$ gets to spend their dollars twice. Firstly, to support an organization and secondly, to purchase products and/or services.
People with C$ can now go to local businesses who accept them, and purchase products and/or services using C$ as full or part payment. The percentage of C$ is determined by the business.
The business knows that the C$ will be spent in the community and people get to support their local organizations without loss of spending power. If their employees consent, local businesses can pay their employees partly in C$, give bonuses in C$ and spend C$ at other local businesses.
They can also donate more C$ to organizations and receive tax receipts if the organizations are registered to do so.
As C$ circulate in Kootenay communities, they stay within the community, increase everyone’s spending power, encourage charitable giving and stimulate additional purchasing at participating businesses.