NB Residence Co-op looking for students

    Wayne Walsh, president of the NB Residence Co-op’s board of directors, said the basic infrastructure is available to students who want to start a co-op. (Jordan MacDonald/AQ)

    The New Brunswick Residence Co-op has money to give out and they’re looking for students to take it, says Wayne Walsh, president of the co-op’s board of directors.

    “There’s an opportunity for students to develop a co-op and we would assist as a catalyst in order to [get] things going. [It’s] just an opportunity that people need to be aware of…and it’s something well worthwhile for students to partake [in],” said Walsh.

    The NBRC has been around since the late 60s or early 70s., according to Walsh. At it’s core, it’s cheap student housing run by students.

    Through bad management and borderline illegal activities, the co-op faded into the background in 1997, Walsh said. Now, Walsh and the rest of NBRC’s board of directors are trying to start it up again.

    To do that, he said he’ll need students with “passion.”

    “As long as passion is there, as long as the will is there, then there’s lots of opportunities, but someone has to do it.

    “And people like myself and others who are now much older don’t have the passion or the energy. It’s not for us, it’s for students. All we’re offering is a vehicle for them to be able to [create a co-op] if they wish.”

    Walsh said the basic infrastructure is already set up to start one.

    “There [are] enough co-opers around here who still have some passion and would be more than happy to spend the first year or whatever in assisting to people in getting it going. There’s just a wealth of information…all the by-laws are in place, all the house management. All the things that took years to develop, they’re all there.”

    If there’s enough people to help, the learning curve would be much less than starting from scratch, Walsh said.

    A residence co-op begins with buying houses and putting money into them. The residents do all the work and there’s a house manager and food manager. The profit goes directly towards the co-op, itself.

    Forrest Orser, a member of the board of directors, compared a residence co-op to a supermarket co-op. He said they have the same basic principles: a group of people form the organization, the members buy shares and are part owners of the co-op.

    “In the case of a student residence co-op, the co-op buys a building or buildings to provide students with a place to live. The co-op members live there and their rent pays the expenses such as mortgage, property taxes, building maintenance, heat and electricity.

    “It can offer accommodation cheaper than a landlord can.”

    Walsh said there’s a lot of funding from other organizations in New Brunswick, as well as the NBRC, to help any interested students start a co-op.

    “We’re going to be [the] catalyst, basically. We’re going to give you the money, if that passion is there.”

    For more information, visit www.newbrunswickresidencecooperative.com.