Firestone Sanctuary is a pioneering project so it is important that its collaborators and volunteers are in close positive alignment so as to achieve effective community cohesion.
By collaborating with Firestone Sanctuary, you agree to everything in the Visitor Agreement AND the following:
Please use agreed-upon communication and organisation methods:
- Be part of the group chat
- Be part of this collaboration space, including creating an account here
Please communicate regularly and early about any perceived issues:
- Talk openly in the group chat with peaceful communication techniques
- Talk directly to others: do not complain behind other's backs
- Talk directly to founders and members about issues
ADDING THESE NOTES TAKEN FROM MESSENGER GROUP CHAT 27/04/2021
- Feedback in this comment provided by - Lourdess, Timotheos and grace**
Ownership of land or plots of land - does not - can cannot be transferred. Please clarify - you cannot buy plots of land.
That the document's wording context, and the understandings (it seeks and is endeavouring to put forward) are clearly outlined .... Words have different meanings to different people. It is important to be specific.
E.g., consent is a big one communication is another.
Confirmation is another.
T's 'intent' and 'actions' are clear and articulated.
Firestone to show/demonstrate all responsibility and invite all collaborators and all visitors to show/demonstrate all responsibility.
Persons/contributors must be given the freedom to 'leave' or take back their materials/structures/tiny homes etc (meaning gift in 'writing' to the Not for Profit - like a deed or be free to remove from the sanctuary)
Inheritance - the passing on the value / to people's spouses or children or other family members must be addressed.
To avoid ill will - and achieve goodwill and to aid in maintaining a beautiful standard of presentation to avoid neglect and abuse of materials and or animals - labour or show lack of appreciation of people's labour or materials or structures - understanding it is accidental and not intentional.
Awareness and appreciation go a long way.
If the foundations of Firestone are created on good principles and values, it can grow strong in gift its gift economy concept -
Making monetary payments to labour on my property as a gift and in doing so I have received the best efforts from my co-creators. Be it a carpenter plumber painter or fabricator.
NOTE Murphy's Law
People taking care of people under the context of people living self-responsibility and demonstrating autonomy.
The acts of 'requesting' and 'asking’.
Firestone to outline immense duty of care - So that all who sign can feel confident - TRUST that the best possible care will be taken. This goes both ways.
I encourage all 'care and communication' - be demonstrated.
Contracts or agreements are not only to achieve results it is to avoid problems neglect and abuse.
They must cover all sides involved.
If persons are unhappy in a contract/agreement they must be allowed to retract
As is said in this arena an 'out clause'.
Consent - perhaps should cover what that out lines.
to work on.
Re - in kind materials
Re - purchased materials
Legal safety protocols
Ensuring the safety of everyone while they are on the sanctuary grounds.
If guests or visitors damage and never return -
Reporting of damages
Reporting of lost goods
Currently there is no workers compensation.
Doctors and compensation
Loss of eye
Loss of limb.
The not for profit can offer workers comp.
And insurance cover and so much more
The agreement or contract or letter of understand whatever it will be called - can cover all this.
Negligence will not be accepted by a court of law - Family members and friends of friends may seek explanation and in most cases compensation for any lost - emotional physical and mental.
The Not for Profit can state it has this all covered and insurances addressed in the document things like 'cover' and more can give signatories peace of mind.
This document needs to stand up legally.
It does not have to be a complex and confusing and using word that persons do not understand however an attorney or more can read it and ensure all parties are covered.
Cause everything has a value in the sanctuary and most definitely outside of the sanctuary if things go wrong.
If fire codes and practices are not practiced on the sanctuary it endangers the safety of neighbouring properties and their inhabitants.
Members of the public who read the website and go wow I really love this and venture out.
They do not put a fire out.
They leave broken glass, and it flicks into someone's eye the next time a person mow.
Simple clear point by point instructions on walls at entries or at a sink in the community centre for instance
Instruction signs in the tool shed.
Instructions sign at mechanical equipment like ride on or tractors etc.
Construction sites and big structures symbols are used and minimal wording.
What gets people attention is danger and legal proceedings.
Base operations/procedures manual that contained everything - it is important to have a centralised resource to be able to keep track of all things, signs, and current instructions, that way people can contribute and update the manual and take photocopies if signs are ever lost or damaged.
Due to its current unique understanding in this project - (that ownership of land or plots of land - does not - can not be transferred. That's my understand of it atm)
Please clarify - you can't buy plots of land.
Correct: one cannot buy sub-plots of land at Firestone Sanctuary. I will be making a document to describe the Structure further. Essentially, Firestone Sanctuary will be like a Community Land Trust in some senses. The non-profit will have a membership of decision-makers.
Members are different to Residents, which are different to Collaborators, and Visitors.
A Resident is a Collaborator, plus some extra responsibilities/freedoms. Same with a Member. I have not set up the Resident Agreement yet or the Member Agreement yet (less urgent - see below).
People who have property stored at the Sanctuary temporarily (based on agreement) still have all the same ownership laws as normal - everything should be removable, at the moment, so they should just take what they own (e.g. van or tiny home).
Later, people will be granted to build fixed dwellings / buildings on the land, but they will not own the land, they will own just the building. An exit strategy will be incorporated to address that (selling back to the Sanctuary or selling back to another Member). Only Members will be allowed to own fixed permanent buildings. Not all Residents will be Members. New Members will have to be accepted unanimously by all other Members, etc...
Hopefully this is a brief overview. I will address more later, given my aforementioned writing deadlines.
At the moment, given that there is no non-profit set up, there are no Members, and no legal Resident agreements, just Visitors and Collaborators. (Although, as founder, I stand in place of the yet-to-be-formed non-profit, so I'd say I'm the only de facto "Member" for argument's sake.) So this is why I'm focussed on the Collaborator Agreement and Visitor Agreement at the very immediate moment. That's the most important to get agreement on, as it will form the basis for the Resident Agreement and Member Agreement, later. I will keep the other discussion points in mind for the imminent formation of legal structure.
I will update "Consent" to say "Personal Consent" and explain more about the right to one's own body, not be touched without communicating permission, et cetera
With the greatest of respect, I would like to comment on some of the issues raised and offer alternatives for consideration.
Overall, the various rules and agreements are written from a human perspective. "What is best for the people who might get involved?" The rules on imported animals, pets or otherwise, are one example. If we ask "what is best for the ecology we wish to preserve and live with symbiotically?", then it becomes very difficult to justify the rules as they stand. If the ecology had a seat at the table and the discussions required full consensus, it seems unlikely that the outcome would have been the same.
The various levels of participation (visitor, collaborator, member, resident) and the associated existing or planned agreements add layers of complexity that do not seem justified by the aims of the project. Further, who enforces compliance? And what procedures do we follow to determine adherence to the agreements? I appreciate that the intent is to provide clarity for people wishing to get involved and to develop a transparent hierarchy of decision-making empowerment, however it seems that this could be achieved with far more simple mechanisms.
The notion that residents should be able to have a financial "out" clause is understandable. This is a very common consideration of the standard capital based model. In practice though, these clauses and agreements have been the downfall of many intentional communities. If Firestone is to be an alternative to the existing paradigm, perhaps we should be looking for members for whom personal wealth is not a high priority. Having said that, the 1980's and 90's experiences with the land co-op movement at Melany have shown that if people fully commit to a project financially, then their investment needs to be protected by a full consensus decision making process and very clear aims, objectives and rules. And practically, if people are initially living in removable dwellings and they want to leave then all they have to do is leave, as Timotheos has pointed out above. So for those who might feel uncomfortable trusting their financial resources to a group process these types of dwellings are a simple mechanism by which they can become residents and still retain their financial options.
I'm not sure if the point has already been made somewhere else, but it needs to be stressed that all rules must be subject to constant change and review. Circumstances will always change, and we need to be flexible to adapt to the unexpected. This reinforces though the importance of consensus decision making processes. If we are to change direction, then it needs to be a community decision. And here is where it is important to have a buyout clause. If a majority want to change a fundamental principle of the project, those that object to the change need to be able to withdraw equitably. This is different from a member just having a change of mind and wanting out.
Working by consensus requires a level of commitment and participation far in excess of simple majority vote. I am passionate about the process however, have run workshops for community groups wishing to change models of decision making as well as facilitating meetings using consensus practices. I look forward to the opportunity to bring these inclusive practices to the group for consideration. It is my intention to join anyway should the existing members approve, but I hope to be able to show the many positive benefits of consensus sufficiently that the group fundamentally adopts fully inclusive practices.