An idea that was sparked in 2010, came to fruition on Friday (May 19).

With intensity picking up the last two years, Robert Kalinovich with Economic Development, was happy to unveil Cochrane's own currency designed to not only bolster tourism but keep community members shopping and supporting our local business community.

A three way partnership between the Town, ATB Financial (Cochrane branch), and the Cochrane Monetary Foundation (a non-profit group of local small business people), Cochrane Dollars are now available for purchase and use with roughly $6000 already circulating as of late Friday afternoon.

A number of businesses have already signed up to be participate in the program, and Kalinovich expects that number to grow. "Now that you can actually see them it's a lot easier to understand that they're not some kind of token or something symbolic, they are meant to be a circulating currency. When a lot of business owners are able to see them we are going to have more people signing up."

An area of concern for business owners was security, which Kalinovich understands. He feels education is key for business owners, employees, and the general public when it comes to understanding all the security features the bills possess."We have information cards which comes in two forms; one is a folded over card and it's got images of all the bills and it outlines all of the security features. The second item is a laminated sheet that is intended primarily for business owners to keep as a reference at their cash register/counter for them and their staff to be able to identify real bills."

Kalinovich, expects other communities across Alberta and Canada to be keeping a watchful eye on Cochrane currency and what positives it brings to our local economy. "In this province as far as anybody is able to tell, there aren't any other local currencies around that actually circulate as a currency. As far as a circulating currency we are one of very few in the country." 

Kalinovich was happy to not only see a large crowd gather at the unveiling but a number of people in line waiting to purchase. "We are really hoping that a lot of these bills are going to travel around the country and around the world and promote this great community we've got here."

To sign up or find out which businesses are participating, go here.