Central Saanich gears up to bring car-sharing to community

Councillors vote to put up funds, upgrade charger

Central Saanich is putting up about $73,000 and promising infrastructural improvements in order to bring four Modo car-share vehicles to the municipality.

Councillors agreed unanimously last week to a partnership plan with Modo to position two vehicles in Saanichton Village (with at least one being fully electric) and two in Brentwood Bay over the next two years.

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“It will only work if there is uptake in terms of members,” said Coun. Zeb King who, having first proposed car-sharing in the municipality 15 years ago, is chalking up the council’s decision as a long-sought-after win.

“It will mean that Central Saanich will actually be a member and now have a vehicle in the fleet, and we’ll share a vehicle with the community,” he said.

King said the agreement “is kind of a risk” for the district, which is fronting costs — to be repaid, it is hoped, by developers — and guaranteeing usage of the cars.

“We’ve agreed to front the costs, which is $53,000 to start with and then $20,000 next year and then a potential $12,000 if nobody ever used it for three years,” King said.

“But it will be developers paying for that and the municipality will front the costs.”

The district has agreed to upgrade its electric charger at City Hall to a second-level charger and reserve the spot as a Modo car-share spot. Another on-street spot will be located nearby by June 1.

A reserved on-street Modo spot in the Brentwood Bay commercial area will be home to a Modo Honda Fit by June 1, with a spot for a second car (potentially in the library/Cultural Centre parking lot) to be provided by June 2020.

Under the agreement approved by Central Saanich councillors, the district will provide an upfront investment in Modo of $53,000 by March 31. The funds are to be reimbursed to the district by developers as development contributions come due at building occupancy.

For every $500 contributed by a developer, Modo will grant membership privileges to one of the new development’s residents.

The district will provide a further $20,000 on March 31, 2020, for the second Brentwood Bay vehicle — also to be reimbursed to the district through amenity contributions.

In exchange of such reimbursement, Modo will also issue memberships for the benefit of the developments’ residents.

A staff report said the risk that the upfront investments will not be fully reimbursed through development contributions is low considering that the district has commitments for most of the funds from developments at Prosser, Veyaness, Polo Village, Wallace and West Saanich.

The district will provide a usage revenue guarantee of a maximum $12,000 per year. This means that if usage of all four vehicles does not generate that amount, the district will pay the difference.

According to the staff report, $12,000 equates to about 1,800 hours per year or 450 hours per vehicle. On average, that is less than two hours per day per vehicle.

Sidney’s first-year monthly revenue from its Modo scheme was $700 to $800, the report said. Combining such revenue with use by municipal staff in Central Saanich would be close to the minimum $12,000 a year ($1,000 a month).

The agreement will also enable Central Saanich to eliminate one vehicle from its fleet.

bcleverley@timescolonist.com

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