Dr Herzberg has certainly pulled one out of the hat with this idea to purchase the late Carl Foster's iconic garage in the centre of Bellingen NSW.
He puts forward a very interesting point of view that may enlighten a lot of people to the truth of the business situation and why ideas like his are important to consider. I also think it would be an honour to Carl Foster too because no doubt they would retain the name .. it is the name everyone knows the Garage as, either that or it gets called Cj's.
You may be aware that Fosters garage is for sale.
It appears that it is close to sale. The business will close and the site will be developed, in some way. It will be owned, as most of the buildings in our public area are, by a private individual. That person will put in the money to buy the property, invest in its development, earn from renting out the space and, perhaps, at some point in the future, sell the property and probably earn some more from the capital gain.
Foster's Garage was iconic and I hope it stays that way.
There is a great opportunity here. For us, as a community to own something together. As part of a step in the direction of collaboration and cooperation among all of us.
As the challenges to our society and our planet continue to become more complex ( and dire, one might say) the relative power and ability of each of us individually to engage and affect these challenges is diminishing. We watch, mostly helplessly, in the face of …..moral and ethical catastrophes across the realms of media, immigration, first people, health, law, finance, agriculture, mining, education while our governments struggle to balance the needs and wishes of the few with the many…. Many of us spend a good deal of time and energy working to correct these wayward strategies, all the while recognising a deep sense of futility.
There is a massive shift occurring amongst human activity across the planet. The time of separation has past. A time of new interconnectedness is here. Our fates are inexorably linked. They actually always have been, only now it’s becoming ever clearer. We all breathe the same air, drink the same water, eat from the same earth. We drive on the same roads. We employ the same politicians.
It is time for us to collectively own and take stewardship of more than just the cars we drive and the houses we live in ( if we own them ).
If a single individual can own a strip of shops in the main street of a small country town and glean a financial benefit, why not a group of people? Why not the whole community?
This is not specifically a money making venture, although I doubt anyone would complain if we all made a little money as well.
This is an investment in community. Our community. By our community.
There are many possibilities for how this can occur but in essence at this stage my suggestions for what we need:
The money: at least $1.2 million. That’s $1200 each from 1000 people, on average. This can be lots of very small amounts, a few very large ones and everything in between. The point is to secure the premises.
We also need:
The Board - 5- 7 people with a range of skills and experience and social groups to represent the broader community in the vision and mission of the enterprise.
The executive - 3-5 people with the skills and experience to run the business as and with the board directs.
The employees - work for the business.
The members - own the business.
We will still need to clarify what a share in the business looks like but the principle is one of inclusion. This is not designed to be a process for making lots of money using lots of money. They have a say in how it works, is run, the broader development or new streams and activities. Ideally, members get cheaper fuel, access to mechanics, opportunities for training and employment, cheaper rent for other business premises once the site is further developed… There are many possibilities.
I propose a community consultation and workshop process to find out who is interested and how much.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Dr Gull Herzberg
Images @ Eminpee Fotography