not in my backyard!

I often volunteer at but we’re sort of a victim of our own success, as the “business” (we’re registered not-for-profit) has been steadily expanding the past few years.

We’ve kept many thousands of bicycles out of the landfill over the years, fixing up donations with volunteer labour and either selling them at very low prices or giving them away to low-income residents. If the bike is beyond fixing we strip off the useful parts and recycle the rest, so that nothing ends up in the landfill.

We now have many hundreds of bikes and not enough space to store them all this winter, even if St. Paul H.S. has been very generous about giving us free space for storage and our workshop.

I was assigned to look into renting some commercial space – someone said why not in Bells Corners, where there are many empty stores (way more than when Rick launched his BIA hokum). Some of them have been reportedly empty for years. Maybe someone would rent us some space at a discount to store some bikes?

I wasn’t too optimistic – if just the small spots on the sign in the Dollar Store Plaza are going for $200 a month, then it would hard to imagine actual space for less than thousands a month.

Let’s take as an example that smallish space between Avis and Alex’s place – what’s your guess?

At around $25 a square foot for rent and about $10 a square foot for utilities and taxes (plus the special Rick/BIA tax that everybody has to pay) it works out to $36,995! No wonder small ma & pa businesses struggle to survive in Bells Corners and so many stores are empty (over 30 at last count).

No one gets paid at Recyclore so we have no labour costs. The Catholic school board doesn’t charge us rent (and the old LVCA gave us space for free one summer while our shop at St. Paul was being renovated). Our only expenses are insurance ($1500 a year), the domain name/hosting ($25 a year) and money spent on tools, so we have built up a cushion over the years. But it would disappear in no time if we had to pay anywhere near market rates for commercial space.

Recyclore board members were asked to store bikes in their backyards under a tarp until the start of bike season, when sales really take off, but everyone said “not in my backyard!”

Recyclore Bicycle Recycling video

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5 Responses to not in my backyard!

  1. wanderer says:

    What a fix you’re in! Wish I had a solution. Asking RC would be useless, as he’s part of the cause for so many empty spaces right through town. We haven’t seen his bright smiling face around town lately, as there is no good news to ‘attribute’ to his name or the BIA. The costs you mentioned are atrocious, and I can’t imagine things improving soon. A plea to the business community would likely be fruitless, as everyone is squeezed for cash. I hope through this blog you generate some interest and some Christmas spirit to help those who are helping the needy.

  2. Have you considered a storage place like Dymon? If I remember correctly a 5′ * 10′ storage room is $120/month or you can get 10’*10′ for $180/month. You get 24 hour access at most of them. They aborted their Bells Corners facility but there is a facility in Kanata and one on Baseline.

    – Yes, that’s one of the options we’re looking at. But we have so many bikes that it’s only a partial solution. We may end up recycling a lot of of bikes (carting them off to Cohen & Cohen’s, where they take just about anything metal for recycling), but for the volunteers at Recyclore, who love even the homeliest bicycles, it’s a painful solution. But at least it’s better than throwing them in the landfill, which would have been their fate otherwise.

    Every year we donate a lot of bikes to Bicycles for Humanity, but they only want mountain bikes suitable for use in the third world. They have to be a certain size too.

    Of course, none of the bikes that have already been completely overhauled or at least safety-checked and ready to ride will be scrapped.

  3. Gravy says:

    The BIA office is teeny — we were elbow-to-elbow with ten people in there. I’m wondering if it isn’t that little space under the one labelled 410 square feet.

    – I was using the space next door to the Avis as an example – it’s around 1000 square feet. The place next to Alex is the mall office (which is kind of curious – how many malls have offices in store space?). So unless the BIA is getting a discount Alex’s office alone is costing other Bells Corners business owners roughly $20,000 a year.

  4. TonyL1 says:

    I know this may not be a solution, but maybe an AD on Kijiji (though it’s a bad time to buy a bike – winter, Xmas and all).

    Use the pic with the large cluster of bikes, show the recyclore system/web page and explain the situation. Then just fire sell as many as you can?

    – Hopefully we’ll find a better solution, one that puts ready-to-ride safety-checked bikes in the hands of those who can use them. It might come down to a fire sale but I doubt it. Many talented people are working on finding a solution.

  5. TonyL1 says:

    I hope it all works out and the best possible solution happens to find them good homes, or at least storage for the winter. I’ll check the Facebook link…

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