Mark Richmond of Q-Cove Auto Repair on Quadra, who came over for his first Repair Café event to help out where he could, assesses the issue with Marc Bergen’s son’s bike Saturday at the Sportsplex. Photo by Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror

Don’t chuck it out, see if it can be fixed

Campbell River’s fourth Repair Café event helps breathe new life into old or broken items

Too much stuff that could be repaired is instead just tossed away and replaced, says Linda Nagle, program coordinator with the City of Campbell River’s Parks, Recreation ande Culture department.

But there’s a growing movement happening all over the world that is attempting to remedy that. It’s called the Repair Café and it began in Amsterdam back in 2009.

It’s a simple concept, really. At a Repair Café, members of the community who are good with their hands come together and volunteer to take a look at people’s broken things and try to fix them.

Marc Bergen brought his son’s bike in to see if someone on hand could pop out a broken rivet on a gear and replace it. After a few fixers looked over the problem, it was determined that nobody had the right piece on hand to fix it on the spot, but he did get some reccomendations on how he could do it himself when he got home.

“I really like this idea,” Bergen says. “I think it’s cool that people volunteer to just kind of see what they can do to keep stuff running – or get it running again. I think way too many people just buy stuff as cheap as they can get it and chuck it out and buy a new one when it breaks. That’s a horribly wasteful way to live.”

Mark Richmond feels that way, too. He was one of the volunteer fixers on hand Saturday and although his job is in auto repair – he owns Q-Cove Autor Repair over on Quadra – he’s always been all about fixing things rather than replacing them.

“These days things are built so when it breaks you have to just buy another one, which is really too bad,” he says. “But even those things can sometimes be given even a bit more life if you know what you’re looking for in terms of parts you can harvest from other things.”

Richmond was attending the event for the first time and says he really enjoyed the “mixed bag” of things he got to work on and tinker with.

Saturday’s event was Campbell River’s fourth event, and Nagle says they’re not planning on stopping anytime soon.

“We do this every October, and it’s such a great event for the community,” she says. “We’re really fortunate with the volunteers we get here. They are amazing people…doing everything from jewelery and sewing to electronics and mechanics, so we can cover just about everything and several of them are repeat volunteers who come back every year to help out.”

But they’re always looking for more people to help out.

“Anyone out there who has a bit of skill and enjoys fixing things, we would love to have them come and join us. There’s no risk to them — everyone who comes in with something has to sign an agreement that says the fixers are not responsible if their item isn’t fixed or if they get it home and it breaks down again shortly afterwards – we’re just here doing our best trying to fix things, and it’s all free, so if anyone wants to help out, they’re welcome to phone or contact me.”

You can do so by emailing or by phone at 250-286-7805.