Our community, impoverished as it is, begged and politicked for the Regional district to ‘come together’ and buy 7 acres of waterfront up where the old store used to be. In effect, the seven acres is – despite being empty except for some derelict small buildings – the center of town. Well, the centre of the town we don’t actually have. In fact, it is the centre of town and we don’t even want a town. We want a village.
We’d like a centre of a village.
“Now, give that land to us!” The idea is that we, the community, will ‘develop the land’ in such a way as to help out the community and do ‘good works’ by somehow making a community-responsive development which is very likely to be some kind of village-y thing.
As luck would have it, we have the only good politician to ever walk the planet representing us and he did so in this case successfully. The District bought the land. Woohoo! To be fair, they have it now and they have not yet given it to us but that has been the conversation and I am sure it will come to pass in some way. We won’t own it but we may lease it for a dollar a year-kinda-thing. We’ll see.
“Why do you want it? Why do you want a village? “
Millenials complain that the baby-boomers are not getting out of the way fast enough and worse, if they do leave, they want too much money for their house. And, I think that is partially true. In the city, for sure. Where it is NOT true is rural communities and off the grid regions like ours. Our land is cheap. Well, cheap-ER. But still too expensive for millenials.
Very roughly speaking land-worth-having runs maybe $20K to $30K an acre. More if it is waterfront. Less if it is inland. $20K an acre would likely get some small waterfront frontage, tough topography and the bulk of the land NOT waterfront. Water view for sure. There are way too many variables in that blanket statement for someone to act on but, generally speaking, that’s close.
Of course, some properties aren’t worth having (no fresh water, north-facing, too vertical, too small and (much more common) too big. There is no ‘average’ size but, typically a purchaser is looking at maybe two or three offerings and one is 20 acres, one is a co-op share and one is 1.5 acres of waterfront. The prices would be $400K, $who knows about the share value until the co-op has been met with but worth something and the little one would be at least $50,000 . No real logic. NO real market. And, if there is a good building on it, the price leaps by at least $200 per square foot simply because the cost of construction is double out here. If you hire people to build your house, it is more than that, actually.
Living poor ain’t cheap.
So, a millenial is looking at coming up with almost as much money for an OTG purchase as they might need in town for a condo or townhouse but, of course, they get land and forests and paradise instead of granite counter-tops and a parking pass. It’s a choice.
But it is a choice NOT available to young people. Not as a rule. Why? Because you can’t get a mortgage out here and, if you do, it is not a high ratio one. The buyer needs 50% down at the very least. There are HUGE barriers to young people buying out here even if the property and the setting is ideal. In fact, there is no way to ensure any kind of regular employment income.
So, to encourage younger people, this community plans to ‘develop’ the 7 acres into either tiny home lots (on leased land) or actual tiny homes that can be rented. In this way, it is believed, the young people can get ‘a foot in the door’ and get started. We’ll see.
That, in itself, is a big undertaking and the community seems keen to undertake it so I am pleased and willing to help when and where I can. Most everyone feels that way. We even have some ‘young people’ waiting for it to happen.
And then a neighbour decided to sell 20 acres just up the road! And a logger was going to buy it. Such is life. But it would definitely UGLIFY the area and no one was happy with that deal – especially the vendor. So, they offered the land to the community. And one family stepped up BIG and gave $50K on the condition that the balance of $100K was raised by the community. That would be the previously described ‘impoverished’ community.
Again – to be fair – the community is NOT entirely impoverished. We have some billionaires. And millionaires. But, of the 250 people in the area, the median income is likely still around 25 to 40K annually. That might be a bit high. I know several surviving on less than $18K.
But, after two months, the community raised (so far) $82,000. That plus the original $50 gives us $132,000 towards the required $150,000. The empire is growing. See: GO FUND ME: Lot 302, Read Island. It is an interesting read.
What that means to us is not so much MORE development but rather the original plan can still proceed without a clear-cut logging show messing up streams and running over kids. That 20 acres will go ‘for posterity’ and saving old growth forest instead. In a twist – we will GIVE the 20 acres to the Regional District. They give us 7 acres on a low-ball lease and we give them 20 acres with a million caveats attached. Weird deals get done out here.
All the adjacent land considered (there are other pieces, too, including the school property, the bunkhouse property, a memorial five acres previously donated and another 20 acres bought in a similar way forty years ago. We will have a kilometer of ‘corridor’ that will keep the village centre as envisioned.
Natural progression. Slower than island time. Big (for us). HUGE impact (on the community). Lots of community involvement (a community of independents). Politics. Government. Donations (gasp) and general agreement. No fights or rebels.
How the hell did this happen?