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Repair café returning to West Vancouver

Events aim to give a second chance to broken items
Repair cafe
A handy volunteer attempts to fix someone's broken household appliance at a repair café in Vancouver in 2019. MetroVan Repair Cafés is hosting similar events at West Vancouver Memorial Library on Aug. 14 and Sept. 18.
For a second time, an event hosted by a handy group is looking to give your broken or busted household items a second chance.

A repair café is returning to West Vancouver for a couple Saturdays this month and next.

Hosted by MetroVan Repair Cafés, the group of fixer-uppers is setting up shop at West Vancouver Memorial Library on Aug. 14 and Sept. 18, from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. both days.

The group is encouraging people to bring down their broken small appliances, textiles, bikes, jewelry, computers, small furniture, and other gadgets and gizmos – basically anything that’s small enough that it can be easily carried.

“We’ll take a look and try and fix it,” said Sun Yining, who co-founded MetroVan Repair Cafés, in an interview with the North Shore News last year. “We have a group of very skilled repair volunteers helping us out.”

Yining helped found the group in 2019. In its first year, MetroVan Repair Cafés hosted five cafés with more than 130 volunteers who took a shot at repairing more than 370 items, according to Yining.

Repair cafés sprouted up as a popular phenomenon more than 10 years ago, after a Dutch environmentalist observed how many of the items that people in the Netherlands were throwing away could have easily been fixed. She reportedly set up the first formal repair café in Amsterdam around 2009.

“We’ve called for people that like tinkering, opening things up on their own, and I think they also believe in repairs as opposed to just throwing broken things away,” said Sun, who added that, crucially, services are always offered free of charge at repair cafés. “That was the idea: to gather a group of volunteers and have neighbours helping neighbours fixing their household items.”

A COVID-safe pilot pop-up event was hosted by the group in the West Van library’s parking lot last year.

Yining said that traditionally people bring in a lot of small, electrical kitchen appliances, such as toasters, mixers and rice cookers.

West Vancouver residents wanting to stop by one of the two events in the hopes of reducing waste, having their items fixed and challenging throw-away culture, are asked to register ahead of time.

“This is more of a public awareness campaign. We want people to know that repair is possible and fun,” said Sun