From Brandy – founder, placemaker & Executive Director of O.U.R.
After the last week of deep concern I have worked on a best way to word this report/announcement in order to reach out to O.U.R. Ecovillage’s wider community. Today will mark the day where I am officially asking others to take over title and have full shared ownership of OUR place and projects. I must say that I have been challenged to find the way to describe the urgency for this transition.
On one hand – this transition planning is what we have been doing for the past 3 years. We have worked with a legal and regulatory team to create a new hybrid Multi-Stakeholder Cooperative. O.U.R. Ecovillage Co-operative is a model example of a complete and comprehensive form of owning ‘commonshare’ projects in Canada (whether it is urban or rural) and has been developed not just to support OUR sustainability model of organizational structure but also to be used for non-profits, cooperatives, and other collectives of multiple activity framework projects/places. With local and international awards for all of the precedents in design and development work…..one the other hand – O.U.R. Ecovillage can not fit into conventional financing and does not seem to be able to obtain a commercial mortgage on March 1st, 2012 – though it has been brought to every progressive bank and credit union seemingly possible.
We are very cautious to put out to the wider world the notion that – OUR ECOVILLAGE is FOR SALE!! This means of communicating has already started some reactions from friends/families, funders, and the myriad of folks who have worked so long to create O.U.R. Ecovillage as a world class “Sustainable Living Demonstration Site and Education Center”. It has only been the focus of the most positive thinking and manifesting from a deep abundance…. that has created OUR processes/place this many years. This is a time to remember the incredible resources and opportunity which has continuously been around this project for over a decade. There has been 100’s of thousands of dollars in resources brought together to take on the regulatory work and to move through the incredible barriers to sustainable living for more than a decade now. Yes, O.U.R. Ecovillage is in a sense for sale….it must now move into the next phase of community ownership in order to fully become a community resource. It is unimaginable to risk the work of thousands of volunteers per year, hundreds of business/corporate sponsors, dozens of funders/foundations, all of the educational work – and the deep beauty of the land. Within the major stakeholders from Academia, Business/Corporate, Government, and the grassroots of community ….there must be a range of investors, lenders or even donors who step up to PROTECT OUR ECOVILLAGE FOREVER.
It is only (Y)OUR collective action which will determine the next steps in the future of OUR ECOVILLAGE.
Other related details –
For three years we have had this annual challenge. O.U.R. Ecovillage has been held with a residential mortgage for over a decade….never missing a payment and servicing all expenses through a variety of Green Social Enterprises. Each annual renewal of the existing mortgage we have worked to find a commercial mortgage which will support OUR invaluable world work to continue. To date we have not been able to find a funder who can/will take on this mortgage.
For the past two years we have taken out small loans from independent lenders in order to not be stopped by this mortgage roadblock. Now one lender is calling in their loan! We have an urgent time line for repayment and must raise $100K immediately. We also must raise a further $300K by March 1st in order to transition the finances and enable the continuation of a small mortgage.
It is requested that all investors/lenders/donors who come forward carry the ethical intention for the continued vision and mandate of OUR to include: protection of ecologically sensitive land, sustainability education, food security and heritage farming practices, traditional knowledge and crafting work, sustainable community development/design, affordable housing, the Commemorative Conservation Scattering Grounds, and transition planning for our children’s children – through full land covenants designed to ensure the PROTECTION OF OUR ECOVILLAGE FOREVER.