Supporters of an old workhorse called Clem hope the truck can make a difference for small businesses, artists, community groups and garbage in Mount Pleasant.
Clem is a red 1946 Studebaker truck. It’s also the face of Mount Pleasant Business Improvement Area’s recent win of a $5,000 Zero Waste Challenge grant from Metro Vancouver.
“Mount Pleasant is quirky. Disregard the poodle on the podium,” said community organizer Robert Sutherland, referring to the controversial new public art piece at Main Street and 17th. “Mount Pleasant is a little bit working class, a little bit eccentric. … We’ve got a lot of stuff going on right now. People are interested in sustainability and urban gardening.”
Sutherland, founder of the Mount Pleasant Artists’ Society and a member of the community plan’s implementation committee, transported Clem from a farm in Alberta to Vancouver last October.
“It spent 67 years hauling grain and now it’s going to be doing kind of farm chores. It’s recycled as sort of an urban farm truck and it will be doing its rounds picking up a lot of green waste from restaurants,” he said.
The idea of using the 1.5-tonne truck with the dump box on the back as a community truck evolved after Mount Pleasant artist and community builder Diane Lefroy and filmmaker Ana Mateescu featured Clem among the stories of neighbourhood individuals they’re filming and posting online.
Sutherland said Clem will pick up waste from 20 to 30 businesses in Mount Pleasant during a 10-week trial starting in April. Waste will be analyzed and garbage disposal and recycling streamlined.
As the founder of Liveable Laneways, Sutherland hopes more frequent garbage pickup by Clem could further his work to animate lanes as community and art spaces.
Sutherland and supporters raised nearly $2,000 towards their goal of $12,000 through an Indiegogo online crowd source funding campaign earlier this winter. The money will be used to make road-ready what they called “the truck that keeps on giving.”
The campaign video includes the theme music from the movie Rocky, shots of Main Street car-free days, coffee shops, art and tattoos. Mike Wiebe, owner of Eight ½ Restaurant Lounge, appears to describe how he’d rather have one truck picking up waste on Main Street instead of the service being handled by a large company.
The truck could be used to haul compost, plants and building supplies for community projects. Sutherland hopes Clem can become a self-sustaining enterprise where community members could hire its services. He would initially serve as driver.
Supporters also hope to use Clem as a stage for performances. The plan is to make the sides of the dump box fold down.
The Mount Pleasant community truck project is hosting a contest for artists to submit a caricature or cartoon-style portrait of Clem with a $500 prize. The image will be used on T-shirts to support fundraising. The contest is open until Jan. 25.