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Craving leftovers? There's an app for that!

City council will create a task force to look at the impact and opportunities available in the "sharing economy"
Barrie city council.

The sharing economy is on city council’s radar – regulating Uber and other ride-sharing businesses is really just the beginning.

“There are a huge number of these technologies,” Mayor Jeff Lehman said at a corporate services committee meeting this week. “Some are in play in Barrie and some are not, but they are coming.”

He mentioned Rover - shared parking that matches anyone with space on their driveway with drivers looking for places to park.

“It’s the Uber of parking,” Lehman said, explaining that customers are rated along with driveway owners.

“The implications of that on municipal parking could be substantial,” he said. “We are building parking lots and this sharing economy is going to disrupt that whole service model.”

The committee debate was sparked by a letter from Barrie MP Alex Nuttall, urging council to consider regulations for Uber and other ride-sharing apps.

However, Lehman suggested that the city take a broader approach and create a “sharing economy task force” that will include city staff and representatives from local businesses.

“It does seem that we are at a reflective point,” he said. “Lets go ask some smart people, including our own staff . . . to see what the opportunities are, and the risks.”

Uber, Airbnb and other apps are available to Barrie residents at home and around the world already. Some of the most popular sharing apps include:

  • Yerdle: a peer-to-peer second-hand store with a unique credit system for goods changing hands.
  • JustPark: aims to solve the problem of finding a parking space or paying too much for a parking space  by leveraging vacant privately-owned parking spaces. 
  • Vayable lets tourists book sightseeing tours with a local expert in cities around the world. And if you have a unique perspective to share about your city, you can sign up as a host and earn money showing people a fun local experience they wouldn’t get from an “official” tour guide.
  • DogVacay (and rival Rover) are Airbnb for dogs. The apps connect pet-owners with pet-sitters, avoiding the need to visit a traditional kennel or dog-boarding service.
  • Spinlister is a peer-to-peer marketplace for sports equipment rentals, like skis and snowboards, bikes, or surfboards.
  • LeftoverSwap aims to reduce food waste by connecting hungry neighbors with their overstuffed counterparts.
  • HomeDine provides a way to join in on a home-cooked meal anywhere in the world, meet new people, and share a unique cultural experience.
  • Getaround puts your car to use for you when you’re not driving, or allows you to rent a car from someone in the network. Set your desired rates and the company handles payment processing and insurance. 
  • Fon allow others to access your home WiFi network in exchange for getting free WiFi at any of the 8 million worldwide hotspots in Fon’s network. 
  • Instacart is a personal grocery shopping service that will deliver food orders for a nominal fee.

Robin MacLennan

About the Author: Robin MacLennan

Robin MacLennan has been a reporter, photographer and editor for the daily media in Barrie, across Simcoe County and Toronto for many years. She is a proud member of the Barrie community.
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