Efforts to bring laundromat services back to Ganges have finally reached the spin cycle.
The Wagon Wheel Housing Society, which took on the lost laundromat cause after Mrs. Clean closed four years ago, has signed a lease on downtown Ganges premises as of March 1.
“It’s a miracle,” said society chair and spokesperson Cherie Geauvreau. “We made the impossible possible.”
The 982-square-foot space that once housed Orca Electronics at 162 Fulford-Ganges Rd. will be home to several washers and dryers that are as water- and energy-efficient as possible, plus a public shower facility and a soap exchange, where a variety of products can be purchased in reusable containers. A large outdoor water storage tank will be part of the operation, which helped earn North Salt Spring Waterworks District approval for the project.
“When it is something good and right, you just stick with it and it will happen,” said Geauvreau.
The housing society had investigated a variety of potential locations since the first meeting held on the topic in October of 2016, but each one posed insurmountable challenges. Use of a portable unit was among the options pursued.
Geauvreau is thrilled with the solid support the project has received so far, starting with assistance from Hardal Management Inc., which has provided rent-free access to the space for the first three months. Another individual is contributing $500 per month towards rental costs for the first year.
Although the society only has about $45,000 of the estimated $180,000 needed to cover all costs in the bank, Geauvreau is confident funds will be forthcoming for the social enterprise one way or another and that it will be open by June.
Salt Spring’s Wilco Construction is the project manager.
“And we’ve had offers [to help] from plumbers, electricians and painters already,” she said.
Geauvreau thanked the society’s board and other core volunteers for putting in an estimated 2,000 hours of work towards the project.
Ron Cooke, Michael and Helga Bagnell, Adiel Pantoja, Tim and Elaine Hunt, Kylie Coates, Shamana Ali, Jim and Carol Helset, Jewel Eldstrom, Inga Michaelson and Darryl Martin have contributed hugely, she said.
Once the facility is up and running and making money, profits will be directed towards affordable housing efforts, and ideally a “wagon wheel” communal housing concept.
People can celebrate the laundromat project and donate to it at a fundraising dance set for Lions Hall this Friday, March 6 from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Ruwazdano Marimba Band is performing for the cause, and there will also be an art and silent auction.
For those unable to attend, cheques for the project can be mailed to Salt Spring Island Community Services with “Laundromat” in the memo line. Charitable tax receipts will be issued by SSICS.
As well, a GoFundMe page with a $40,000 goal is set up at: https://ca.gofundme.com/f/laundromat-on-salt-spring.
“It’s our laundromat and it needs your support,” said Geauvreau.