Border City Express manager Joseph Sproull, left, helps senior Ronald McCormick disembark from the 2017 handivan that has been declared roadworthy following a May 3 fire that damaged this and three other units in the fleet. A GoFundMe campaign aims to raise $80,000 to replace a 2012 unit which insurers have written off. GEOFF LEE LLS PHOTO
Border City Connects is expected to launch a GoFundMe account today to raise $80,000 for a new handivan used to transport Lloydminster residents with disabilities and mobility issues.
The crowdfunding campaign will fund the replacement of one of four Border City Express handivans damaged in a vehicle storage fire on May 3.
Border City Connects director Glenn Fagnan confirmed the plan Wednesday after learning the only unit totally written off is the 2012 handivan damaged by flames.
The other three smoke-damaged handivans are being cleaned up and are expected back in operation in the next week or two.
Fagnan said crowdfunding will help make the difference up between what they received from insurance and what it would cost for a new van.
In an interview from Kelowna last week, Fagnan said they were set to pull the trigger on GoFundMe when the insurer confirmed the other three damaged units will not be written off as well.
“We just need to take a look at an option like that to raise $80,000, hopefully something fairly simple, and have a new unit,” he said at that time.
He noted new units cost somewhere around $80-90,000.
He said there is really no sense in buying a used unit because they have to replace their 2009 unit next year with their 10-year service replacement schedule.
An older 2003 spare unit parked outside the storage facility was unharmed and went into service the week of the fire along with Care-A-Vans used to take people to non-emergency out-of-town medical appointments.
“We were kind of hobbling for a week with just our 2003 unit and we utilized the Care-A-Vans for the schools,” said Fagnan.
“A week after the fire we had the three units and one as a spare.”
He explained Reid Keebaugh, owner of the vehicle storage facility that held 20-30 vehicles, purchased three surplus para-transit units from the City of Red Deer that he has resold, as short term loaners for Border City Connects.
“The three that we are using now are Reid’s,” said Fagnan, who added they also have their 2017 unit donated by the Fred North Foundation back on the road.
“It was great getting those vans.”
He said the loaner units are older vehicles with about 300,000 kilometres on them in need of some repairs and safety certification that Boundary Ford completed at their own expense.
“Boundary Ford helped us out for over $2,000 in repairs and stuff—that was a key thing as well,” said Fagnan.
He said if a handivan unit is in trouble all kinds of people are willing to step forward and help.
Fagnan said the GoFundMe campaign will just give people a different kind of a fundraiser.