In my work one of the joys is when we manage to put together a deal where we can place a family in to a home that they own for the first time. Gone are all the uncertainties of renting and what comes is the opportunity to earn equity and increases in it that are calculated not on what portion they actually own, but the entire value of the property. It is the becoming a master of your destiny with a financial upside.
When I moved to Bowen in 2005 I was taken aback to learn that we rented our municipal offices and that we did not even have a modest community centre of any sort. Of course, back then we were only six years in to our existence as a municipality so perhaps the lack of a hall we owned was understandable but no community centre was a hard one to get my head around. I did take some solace however in the fact a majority of my fellow islanders voted yes in a borrowing referendum that same year to purchase 38 acres of land around Snug Cove. Looking at what it would cost to acquire today I am extremely grateful for all the forward thinking people who voted yes. What a dire and bleak place we would be in as a municipality if we had voted no in that referendum. Those same lands today would be unaffordable and we would have no resources to gain control over things that matter to a community like a health centre, fire hall and housing diversity so all walks of life can call Bowen home. What a great deal for us that was.
So here we are 15 years later and we are presented with another wonderful opportunity like the aforementioned bargain sale on valuable lands. We now have a chance to utilize a $7.9M cash injection in to our community to build our gathering place, our living room and our cultural and fitness centre. One we own and control, a community asset and amenity that will increase property values and make island life more whole and healthy. And, instead of renting our hall and never knowing our future there, we will be paying down the debt on our own and be in full control of it. The current rent we pay can now go toward us and our own things and not a land owner. Not unlike my example of the new homeowner, we become masters of our destiny with a financial upside.
If we as a community were a young family and had the opportunity to stop renting and build upon land we already owned and some outside force was going to finance nearly two thirds of the cost, would you advise them to turn it down? Call me a banker if you will, but 1000 times out of 1000 I am going to say yes to this proposition.