Posted on 04 December 2009.
Cotacachi real estate has a new positive bent.
One benefit of Cotacachi real estate is the beauty of Mt. Cotacachi and Mt. Imbabura.
Mt. Cotacachi towering above the village.
This rich agricultural land provides the community well. Yet their beauty contains a weakness as well. The splendid views are wonderful as Ma and I know as we hike these mountains often.
Yet the views have attracted developers who can create a commercial benefit by building houses and condos on this agricultural land that has been used by the indigenous to farm and graze for millennia.
A reader recently sent this note about the recent article at our site, Ecuador Real Estate Search:
Gary, I came… I saw… I conquered. The phrase is not “I conquered over the internet and then flew down”.
The biggest most important factor is first to come… The second is to look and see. Then conquer.
The Shamans haven’t seemingly influenced the western need to conquer, and one can see from the architecture in the new buildings that the old western mind is still very much intact, and unchanged. God help Ecuador survive the western mind and invasion.
This reader has a good point. Conquered is not a very good word and that word and the romantic cultures have clung to this cultural concept since they were uttered, the Spanish, the British, the French and now the North Americans.
Adapt and evolve might be better words and philosophies for the world’s good.
Technology and population growth pretty well assure further integration of the global economy… and this is good… if we learn the best from one another. Share ideas and ideals. Enhance and respect one another’s cultures as we merge.
Merri and I feel strongly about this and though we have done a lot (the growth of humanity will cause a continuation of the evolution of the global market) to introduce North Americans to Ecuador, we overtly and subtly work hard to make the integration a better one than the Europeans had in North America.
In the thirty years we have lived abroad, Merri and I have never lived with other Americans. We lived in the local community and always felt our horizons broadened. Plus we hope we enhanced our neighbor’s lives as well.
As more and more of our readers settled in Cotacachi, we began working with Cotacachi elders several years ago to bring the locals and expats closer together. Our first effort was support of the Cotacachi World Football Cup (what the elders suggested attracted the greatest number of local population).
I was given the honor of pinning the pennant on the Queen of the event.
Merri kicked out the first ball.
Here is Merri speaking with the leader of the community.
We chatted on how we can all help one another better.
We also have our adopted village… Topo Grande where we help out the school. here we are having dinner with a family there.
This is our godson, Kinti Anaki, (King of the Hummingbords) with his mother and…
We also deeply honor the local wisdom and feature numerous shamanic tours to help our readers learn more about the ancient wisdom.
One of our efforts in this way has been worry over developments on the agricultural hills above Cotacachi.
There are at least three such developments I know of and we have long feared that this type of developments could create problems with the indigenous community.
The warnings are now coming to fruition. Recently there was a meeting in Cotacachi due to concerns about water rights and pollution created by these developments. Last week the community met for the first time regarding concerns of developments in the agricultural lands above Cotacachi.
Our events coordinator, Alberto Verdezoto, attended the meeting and reports:
Sr. Gary, I went to the meeting of the mayor and representatives of different communities around Cotacachi. Some people have started asking the new administration in Cotacachi, what they will do about the expat growth.
The answer given was that the administration will protect the environment and provide support to the poorest, support to ecotourism and viability.
The mayor gave a historical overview of the whites and how for many years they discriminated against the comunidades (local indigenous), but today there is good cross-cultural exchange among the mestizo and indigenous.
The City Council reported that they have been having very informal meetings among themselves, about the positive and negative of the arrival of foreigners, who are coming to live in Cotacachi and surrounding areas.
The main concerns of the municipality are:
That foreigners are located in rural areas, close to the city.
The people living in Cotacachi and communities are concerned, because foreigners buy land at high prices and thus Cotacachenos and the natives may not in future buy back a property. These high prices, harm families planning for a future purchase.
The sale by farmers of land at high prices affects the social-economic harmony and and the appearance of the indigenous worldview.
The mayor also stated that the government has a land acquisition program, for awarding the Indigenas, that they are engaged in agriculture, but as farmers sell their land at high prices, this interferes with this program.
He also stated that the previous administration, did not plan for the arrival of foreigners in Cotacachi. He said that the municipality has the power to create municipal ordinances to protect the good life of all citizens, both local and foreign and planning controls and even prohibit development projects affecting the social, economic and cultural development of the area.
He talked about how the property taxes that are being charged are very low, but these will be revised according to economic facts based on water, electricity, telephone costs.
The municipality is conducting a territorial reorganization plan, to plan for better integration of land use. He also suggested creating an office of appraisals to help people who want to buy property, so they know the real value of the property. This he suggested could help stop price gouging.
There will see future meetings with municipal authorities, representatives of the local communities and new residents to address these issues and create projects for better integration of the cultures,
Regards, Alberto Verdezoto Vallejo
Political and business leaders have spoken with me about these concerns for some time and finally this first public forum can help make everyone aware of these concerns.
Rising Ecuador real estate prices are not rising just because of North American immigration. The wonderful fact is, as the global economy solidifies we can all find it easier to live, work and do business in nice places. This means that nice places will attract more people and prices will rise.
We see this fact with rising prices in the Blue Ridge. Many locals complain how we Floridiots (the name given to us Floridians who have moved to the Blue Ridge) have pushed up local prices.
Merri and I watched Naples real estate skyrocket because it was a nice place. Many old time Neapolitans had to pack up and leave because they could no longer afford the inflated prices. I lived in London for years and return there often… where real estate prices are among the highest in the world.
Are London real estate prices so high because Londoners who have lived there long term have pushed up prices? Not a chance. London is a nice place in many people’s view so wealthy people from many other nations buy property in London. This causes the prices to rise.
Ditto for Wales. The Welsh have long demonstrated and created havoc over the fact that Londoners buy weekend cottages and push their prices up.
This phenomenon is not new. I lived in Hong Kong in the late 1960s and early 1970s and watched real estate demand soar… because for many reasons Hong Kong is a nice place to be.
Ecuador is a nice place and right now prices are low. This fact will continue to attract Americans, Canadians and we see Europeans, Aussies and Kiwis coming as well.
No one likes inflation… but global government deficit spending, growing global populations and technology make real estate inflation in nice places a fact. If the gringos did not come to Cotacachi and buy real estate, the people of Quito would… and in fact they also do.
However it is wise for immigrants in Ecuador or anywhere to respect the local community and merge gently with friendliness, grace, humility and willingness to compromise, adapt and blend in.
In the Imbabura Province cooperating with the indigenous is pretty important. Many foreign legions have visited these areas we call Cotacachi with just the thought “conquer” on their minds… from the Inca to the Spanish… and the Japanese (Mitsubishi tried mining there and failed because of local opposition).
The local culture is still here… strong… vibrant… proud. Thank God!
The Canadian Ascendant Mining Company tried to ignore Cotacachian protests and environmental concerns. This is the result of their arrogance… the remains of their headquarters.
This happened in Chalguayacu Bajo, Cotacachi County, Ecuador, in 2005. The Ascendant mining camp was completely destroyed, an act by more than 300 local people from approximately 20 communities from the area. There were no thefts of company goods. No one was hurt. The people made their will known.
It is our prayer that the many North Americans coming down will take heed and respect and work with the local population.
First, this is the intelligent thing to do. We drown in health, social and economic problems in North America. Local Ecuadorian wisdom often offers a better way. Their food is better… their culture friendly and easy going. Ecuadorian lifestyles and philosophies have much to offer.
I suspect that North Americans will have to learn to respect Cotacachi’s wonderful culture the hard way.
Hopefully wisdom, cooperation and the municipality will lead a better way…. but if not there could be some tension.
To ignore and try to impose a new will upon a solid majority is crazy. The reader mentioned above above wrote: “God help Ecuador survive the western mind and invasion.” So for over the last 500 years, They have done pretty well on their own.
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