Crowsnest Opportunity Development Cooperative
About Us
The Crowsnest Opportunity Development Cooperative (CODC) was formed in January 2013 as a pilot initiative developed by the Rural Alberta Development Fund and coordinated by Alberta Community and Cooperative Association. The Crowsnest Pass along with 2 other rural communities were selected to develop a community cooperative to give local investors within that community an opportunity to stimulate economic growth right in their own backyards. These Cooperatives are not a new concept and are one of the biggest social finance success stories in other provinces. For example, since 1999, Nova Scotia has successfully operated the Community Economic Development Invest Funds (CEDIF) with more than $32 million local dollars invested in local businesses across that province.

The founding board members of CODC are Shane Stewart (CEO, ClansWest Development Ltd and Chair of the Board of Directors of Community Futures CNP), William Kovach (President, Crowsnest Ratepayer’s Association), Janis Entem (President Crowsnest Pass Chamber of Commerce), Larry Saloff (Business Analyst, Community Futures CNP) and Stephen Little (Owner/Pharmacist, Coleman RemedyRX Pharmacy). The CODC Board holds a vision of putting the community members’ back in the driver’s seat by contributing directly to the sustainability of the Crowsnest Pass through local investment.

With an already proven track record, this type of community cooperative has all the ingredients for success and creates a win/win potential with endless possibilities. The model has been used successfully as a tool for adaptive reuse of existing and vacant buildings, succession planning, and the purchasing of local profitable businesses when faced with closure as well as developing new businesses which are not currently operating in the local area. Building on, “a strength in numbers” principle, it is easier to get more people to invest smaller amounts of capital than finding that one individual to invest the entire amount. The benefits are almost predictable, local businesses gain access to funding and new businesses are attracted to the area which creates more jobs and population growth. Local investors watch the impact and reap the rewards of their investments, which in turn creates loyal patronage in supporting these projects/businesses with more dollars remaining in the community. The entire community begins to prosper and a renewed sense of vitality and pride are born. Possibly one of the best features to this type of opportunity is the investment dollars are RRSP (RESP & TFSA) eligible meaning you can invest your RRSP monies right back into your community instead of sending your money to the eastern money markets.