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City of Powell River decides to close coworking space

Coastline Colab has been operating at a financial loss
REPORT TABLED: City of Powell River councillors were told about a decision that has been made to close Coastline Colab, which was designed to be a coworking space, located on the floor above Powell River Public Library.

Coastline Colab coworking space is ceasing operation at the end of the year. At a City of Powell River Council meeting on November 2, corporate officer Chris Jackson tabled a staff report outlining the decision.

According to the report, initially, Coastline Colab was meant to be a coworking space and innovation hub, where entrepreneurs would gather to participate in creative and innovative thinking via workshops and socials. Coastline Colab is located in space above Powell River Public Library.

Early in 2022, Powell River Educational Service Society provided assets such as desks and chairs, and the city dedicated a one-year lease free to Coastline Colab and committed to funding a contracted position for program coordination for eight hours a week, the report stated.

After three years of operations, Coastline Colab is underutilized and not financially self-sufficient, the report stated. In August 2023, there were four members regularly using the space, in addition to occasional drop-ins from four other people, according to the report.

The city has been covering expenses for Coastline Colab annually, including the lease, utilities, advertising and a contractor to manage operations, and the facility has relied on city staff time. Despite charging members usage fees for the space, Coastline Colab has been operating at a loss. In 2022, the net loss was $19,608, not including any allocation for staff time, according to the report.

The decision was made to terminate operation and cease any more financial responsibility on the part of the city because the current model is not sustainable. Members were given notice in September about a December 31 closure. The current space that is occupied by Coastline Colab will be put to bid for a new leaseholder after December 31.

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