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Saturday, August 22, 2009

Why Comox Valley (British Columbia, Canada) Is Launching Its Own Currency

'Community Way Dollars' aim to strengthen the local economy.
By Peter Tupper, 14 Aug 2009,

Vancouver Island's Comox Valley is launching its own community currency to revitalize the local economy and demonstrate that money can work in new ways.

Comox Valley's economy has suffered recently. According to the BC Check Up report for 2009, in the last three months of 2008, the Vancouver Island/Coast development region saw job numbers and business incorporations decline, while bankruptcies and dependence on unemployment and social assistance rose. According to the Mayor's Task Force on Homelessness, there are more than 250 people without homes and more than 3,000 others are at risk of homelessness.

To raise much-needed money without asking struggling local businesses to make an outlay of cash or stock, the Comox Valley Community Way non-profit will create a local currency, the Community Way Dollar. These dollars will cycle between local businesses, local community organizations, and people, functioning like a collective line of credit without interest and with a net value of zero.

Participating businesses donate local dollars to community organizations, such as 1,000 per employees, incurring a negative balance. Any business in the system can issue as much local currency as it thinks it can support. So far, businesses have granted roughly 97,000 community dollars to 14 registered groups, including Project Watershed, AIDS Vancouver Island and the Comox Valley Affordable Housing Society.

The community organizations use the community dollars at local businesses, trade to people in exchange for federal money, or pay people for volunteering or other donations.

A recent article in the Comox Valley Echo gave an example of why local businesses, charities and residents all might get a benefit from using Community Way Dollars." (snip)

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