New Brunswick

Contractor hopes to establish tool library in Saint John

A contractor in Saint John is hoping to establish the city’s first tool library to make equipment available to people who need them.

Saint John Tool Library and DIY Centre would give people access to myriad tools to work on their homes

Brent Harris is trying to establish Saint John's first tool library.

A contractor in Saint John is hoping to establish the city's first tool library to make equipment available to people who need them.

Brent Harris is working to establish the Saint John Tool Library and DIY Centre in the city's south end.

The centre would allow people to get access to myriad tools that they might not other be able to afford, for a membership costing between $50 to $100.

It's not a new concept, as there are similar centres in cities across North America. Canada's three largest cities, Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver, each have one, for example.


Listen to Brent Harris discuss his plans for a tool library on Information Morning Saint John

Could help beautify Saint John's south end 

But Harris thinks the concept could do a lot of good in Saint John, which is peppered with run-down properties.

He sees the centre as a social enterprise that could give people, especially low-income people, the capacity they need to beautify their neighbourhoods.

"This is just one of those things that has been percolating for years in my mind in terms of what do we do in the south side of Saint John to really speak to the tensions that we see, the negative tensions, and really build something that's going to provide a bit of a culture shift for how we think about things like building our cities and taking care of our properties," he said. 

The library would make equipment available to people who need them. The centre would allow people to get access to myriad tools that they might not other be able to afford, for a membership costing between $50 to $100.

As a contractor, Harris said he's constantly being asked by people if they can borrow his tools to fix up their homes.

"I look around, and there are some incredibly beautiful properties. There are also some incredibly run-down properties," he said.

"The city has different beautification grants you can get, but I can't tell you how many times I've been out working on the street … that someone has come by asking to borrow a tool." 

Hoping for launch next spring 

Right now, Harris is finalizing his business model and said he has some upcoming meetings with potential funding partners.

He's looking for a space in Saint John's south end that would be large enough to hold workshops for those wanting to develop basic trade skills.

He hopes to have the centre open by March or April.

With files from Information Morning Saint John

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