Bicycle co-op program inspired after agent of change attempts to launch one for Mission Possibilities
By Johnna Ruocco http://www.portagedailygraphic.com/author/johnna-ruocco, The Graphic
Thursday, November 27, 2014
A new active transportation program may be seen soon in Portage la Prairie — and all because of an unsuccessful attempt at launching one for Mission Possibilities.
Guy Moffat was thrilled about the opportunity to be an agent of change in the Portage la Prairie and District Chamber of Commerce and PCRC initiative Mission Possibilities, which saw nine members of the community receive $100 with 30 days to make a positive change in the community.
It wasn’t until the chamber and PCRC gave him all the details that he began to get nervous.
“Because of my personality, I want to make a really big change, and how can I get that accomplished with $100. So it was just running through all the endless ideas out there and trying to narrow it down that was a little nervewracking at the beginning,” Moffat said.
His first thought was an idea he’s had for awhile through the active transportation committee.
“The idea is to have a co-operative bicycle program where we have bicycles that are free for use that are left in the community in public areas,” he said. “If someone needs to borrow a bicycle they can borrow it and we just ask that they return it to a public area so someone else will be able to use it.”
Moffat tried to think of ways he could use $100 to launch the program and spoke with Fire Chief Phil Carpenter to see is there were any bicycles in need of a lot of repairs that wouldn’t make it to the Portage Firefighters’ annual bike auction.
“Fortunately for him, unfortunately for me, there was nothing in there that fit that criteria,” Moffat said.
As time trickled away Moffat put out a call on social media looking to see if anyone had a bicycle sitting in their garage they didn’t want anymore.
“However, time was crunching down and the idea was to have the program completed within the 30 days, so I would not have enough time to collect all the bicycles, do whatever repairs need to be done, get them branded and get the program together and get it launched,” he said.
“Then I was very stuck and after a little bit more reflection, I had the idea to offer to match dollar for dollar any donation that someone in my community wanted to make to either active transportation or to the Portage parks committee.”
He arranged through the City of Portage la Prairie to provide tax receipts for donations of $20 or more to the two committees and then he offered up the donation match to two of his communities: RBC and the Rotary Club.
“Ultimately my goal at that point was to turn $100 into $200 and instead I turned the $100 into $225 because people ended up donating more,” Moffat said.
And while he thought he had hit a dead end with the bicycle program, a couple of people caught wind of his original idea and have come forward and donated bicycles to him.
“On top of the $225 (donation) that I was able to make to those committees, at the present time I have four bicycles donated already, I have a place to store them, I’ve started talking to public art... to get students to paint the bikes so that they’re very noticeable,” Moffat said.
There is also a tentative donation for $100 for the program to put signage on the bikes in the middle frame, which would outline the program.
“Because of the agent of change program that the PCRC and the chamber ran, not only was I able to do the original program and get the donation made, there’s also the spinoff of this other program that will be launching in the spring.”
It was an honour to have been chosen to participate in Mission Possibilities, Moffat said, and it gave him a lot of pride to participate in the pilot.
“I really, really hope this continues to live on. I was extremely impressed at all of the works all of the agents of change did and what the PCRC and the chamber were able to accomplish with $1,000 injected into the community. You can’t buy much for $1,000 nowadays, and I believe the return on that investment was massive.”