Here’s the first segment in his ongoing story. It’s an interesting read and some parts are intertwined with my efforts to plan ahead… And my property is also part of a legal coop – Toquenatch Creek Co-op in BC.
If interested please leave a comment that I can forward on to him. He's looking for suggestions and ideas, as well as interest. . .
8 Acres on Okeover Inlet - Sunshine Coast, north of Powell River, BC
To enable a small group of people (2-4 individual/couples/families) to affordably co-own this piece of waterfront property, with the intention of living in a cooperative manner that is environmentally, socially, and politically healthy, creative, responsible and sustainable.
Within that vague statement, I believe that there is a wide latitude for individual paths and lifestyles – from “back-to-the-land”, hunting, gardening, and foraging, to a more modern use of highly-efficient technologies and sustainable energy production.
The wider surroundings include easy access to Desolation Sound and other ocean inlets (Toba and Butte Inlet amongst others). The more immediate area includes a great mix of “neighbours” (in a more wide-spread sense of the term), including artists, musicians, builders, gardeners – a good community of people who get together for joint projects such as apple-pressing, shared meals, and currently even a natural home-building effort.
The property is an off-grid location with the nearest power lines approximately 1-2 kms away across Crown and private land. We presently use solar in the summer (a single 130 W panel has been supplying all of our basic summer home needs (lights, laptops, music, blender, etc), but we’ll likely expand that in the future. We’ve experimented successfully with a solar-oven this year. We use a propane fridge in the summer, and the stove also uses propane. We heat and do a lot of winter cooking on the wood stove.
During the winter we try to use modest amounts of electricity and charge the battery bank using a small gas generator. However, we are presently a year into an application process for a microhydro project which would give us a relatively abundant supply of electric power during about 6 months of the year (approx 6-12+ kw/day to be shared by property residents). While this is not yet secured, I am optimistic about our chance of approval based on the government and First Nations cooperation up to this point. The microhydro would compliment the summer solar season.
The General Plan:
My final thought concerning the cost of property shares is that I hope to discourage any speculative investors. As much as is possible, we would like to build a sense of community rather than a group of real estate investors. By offering to sell at below-market value, I would like to include, in the group constitution, an agreement that no re-sell profit can be made for the first few years (3-5?) so that if any individual decides that this is not the right location or situation for them, then the remaining members would be able to consider buying back the available share at a reasonable rate rather than at inflated market values. However, I would not want anyone to have to sell at a loss.
After that initial time period, I would like to still have some mechanism in place to allow the remaining property owners to have first option to buy-back at a below-market price, and to have some input in the member selection process. A number of the local land coops have this sort of agreement that we can consider as a model.
I think that this would be a benefit for all members who truly want to keep their share over a long period of time. Again, I am open for suggestions in this regard.
This is a first draft, but I hope that it offers some clarity to the property and the plan for its future. If you are still interested after all of these thoughts, please keep in touch, and feel free to contact me with any questions or thoughts on the project.