Get Out and Ride!

SD8 Employee Bicycle Purchase Program a success

Last fall, the Kootenay Lake School District embarked on a green initiative that would benefit both the environment and employee health and wellness. The Employee Bicycle Purchase program was scheduled to launch April 2020, and that was without any warning that COVID-19 would interfere with so many initiatives being planned for in and around the District.

With health and wellness for staff remaining a top priority, the District agreed that deferring this particular program wasn’t an option. “We all agreed this could be something for our staff to look forward to, and hopefully to alleviate some stress during these challenging times,” said Theresa Montpellier, Manager of Human Resource Services.

The Employee Bicycle Purchase program launched on schedule the last week of April and applications have been streaming in, two or three per day. Jason Fisher, a teacher at PCSS in Creston was the first to sign up for the interest-free loan.  “It is a great program that affords SD8 employees a nudge, and the means to purchase a bike.” says Fisher. Jason moved to Creston from Vancouver three years ago and is excited to observe the changes in the community with regards to using bicycles for both transportation and recreation. 

Any regular/continuing employee is eligible for the interest-free loan* to use towards the purchase of a pedal or E-bike. “We wanted to make sure there wasn’t going to be any extra financial burden on our employees with this initiative.” commented Montpellier. Employees wishing to participate can select their loan repayment length, either 1, 2 or 3-years where at the end of the 3-year maximum, the loan must be paid back in full.

The importance of supporting local business during these unprecedented times is also playing a role in this initiative as the District is collaborating with six local vendors: Pededo Nelson, Gerick Cycle & Ski, Sacred Ride, Boomtown Sports, Activity Base and Summit Cycles & Sports. Employees are not obligated to buy local, however incentive discounts have been negotiated to encourage supporting local businesses. Proof of employment is required in order to receive the discount when purchasing from any of these vendors.

“With the aid of this program, my new bike is keeping me grounded (when I am not in the air), healthy and happy. Thank you very much.” shares Fisher, “I can’t wait to see more of our employees riding to work and using their new bikes to take advantage of the many roads and trails we have in our valley.”

The Employee Bicycle Purchase Program details are available on the District website www.sd8.bc.ca and includes a list of frequently asked questions.

*The loan has a taxable benefit component and as a result will appear on T4 statements (taxable benefit = prime interest rate x loan amount).

 

For more information:

Theresa Montpellier, Manager Human Resource Services

tmontpellier@sd8.bc.ca

 

About The Board of Education of School District No. 8 (Kootenay Lake):

The Board of Education of School District No. 8 provides educational services to numerous diverse communities in the East & West Kootenays, including Crawford Bay, Creston, Kaslo, Meadow Creek, Nelson, Salmo, Slocan, South Slocan, Winlaw, Wynndel and Yahk. Its dedicated team focuses on providing the best possible educational opportunities for over 5,400 students and their families. Its mission is to focus on excellence for all learners in a nurturing environment.