An idea for surplus city pickup trucks

I was planning on writing my musings this time around on the federal budget that came out this week.

I was planning on being pretty pissed off about there not being money in it for this or that policy that I think would benefit us as a society.

I was even planning on going off about the amount of money in total that the government is going to be spending that they don’t have, to show that I’m not just an idealist that has pie-in-the-sky, unrealistic expectations that we can spend and spend and not have that bite us in the you-know-where.

But then the budget came down, and I’m pretty okay with it, actually. Sure, I am never going to be 100 per cent pleased with how the government is using our money, but I certainly didn’t find enough wrong with this week’s announcement to take up a whole column.

So I’m going to pitch an idea to the City of Campbell River instead.

Earlier this week, our very own Kristen Douglas wrote a story about the city placing an order with Steve Marshall Motors to purchase four shiny new trucks to replace some light-duty pickups that are reaching the end of their time in the city fleet.

Dave Morris, general manager of facilities and supply management, is quoted in the story as saying the “retired” trucks will likely either be traded in or sold at auction.

I have another idea.

What if they could be of (admittedly minimal, but still some) economic benefit to the city while providing a much needed service to the citizenry?

I can’t tell you how many times I see something that someone is selling on Facebook, and it expressly says, “Pickup Only” and I think, “If I had a truck to go get that, I would totally own that right now.”

The only reason I don’t attend the auction anymore is because when I do, I have to bug a friend of mine to get whatever I bought to my house.

Speaking of which, you can’t tell me, oh wonderful truck owners of Campbell River, that you’re not sick and tired of being hit up to help move wood, or dirt, or shingles, or garden stepping stones, or couches, or some variation of, “can I use you and your truck this afternoon, just for, like, a half hour, to grab (thing that doesn’t fit in a car).”

So what if those four trucks being replaced were put back into the service of the people?

I’d be more than happy to pay $10 or $20 to rent a city truck for an hour so I can get a $40 entertainment centre or $100 dining room set off of one of the Facebook buy-and-sell pages instead of having to buy a new one I can’t afford using my credit card – and then probably pay a delivery fee.

Or maybe it could run like a CarShare co-operative.

The “sharing economy” is becoming more of a thing all over the world these days, and this concept could be an extension of that. CarShares are becoming more and more popular in larger centres, so why not a city-run “TruckShare” program?

Maybe members of the co-operative would pay a yearly (or monthly) fee to have access to the trucks. Maybe the membership cost would be set based on the number of hours a member has access to the vehicles?

I don’t know how it would work – I’m not designing the program, just providing the idea.

I think it’s worth exploring, at least.

My friends with trucks probably do, too.

I’m sure they’re not thrilled that we’re heading into gardening and home-renovation season again.