Janas Kuczora (left) and Al Stewart fix an electric whetstone at the regional district’s Repair Cafe Saturday at Okanagan College. - Carli Berry/Capital News

Reduce, reuse, recycle: Repair cafes gaining popularity in Kelowna

The Regional District of the Central Okanagan’s cafe was held at Okanagan College Saturday

Repair cafes are gaining popularity in the Central Okanagan.

Kelowna resident Jean Scott brought a small wooden cuckoo clock to the Regional District of the Central Okanagan’s Repair Cafe, Saturday at Okanagan College.

She held up a photo of a young girl, pointing at the clock. She eventually wants to give the clock to her granddaughter, who is now 22, she said.

“(When she was a child) she admired it every time she came over, she’d ask when it was going to cuckoo,” Scott said. “I put it away (for her) and it stopped working.”

The clock’s chain needed to be shortened, said one of the volunteer fixers, but the clock itself is in working condition.

“I just thought it had memories of our family, she’s living away from us right now but I thought she’s of the same mind and she’d enjoy it,” Scott said.

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A line stretched outside of the Trade Centre as residents waited patiently for their bikes, sewing machines, circuit boards, among many other items, to be fixed.

The regional district holds two cafes a year, said waste reduction officer Rae Stewart, with the regional district.

“The concept of reducing and repurposing is catching some traction. I think it’s always had traction with a certain demographic, you know, when we started these events a number of years ago, the notion was very foreign,” she said.

“The event is growing,” she said, adding the cafes started with about 20 volunteers and Saturday’s had more than 35.

“We’re thrilled this time in participate because there’s some second-year electrical students at the back,” she said. “We love to see that kind of flavour.”

Will Brogan is an electrical student with the college. He said the cafe was looking for people who can fix electronics.

He was surprised to see the variety of items being fixed at the event.

Brogan’s seen a motor for an exercise machine, a few radios and a lamp pass through his workshop with the other students.

That whole culture of easy come, easy go, easy use up, easy toss, is shifting now. A lot of things (are) designed to fail, but many others can be repaired, quite simply and quite easily with a little bit of expertise,” Stewart said.


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