Aaah, Pro-D days. Seems like the kids are off more than they are in school, in my day… okay, that totally sounded like something my parents would have said. And, as a kid I would have totally disagreed! While there might be more days off than there used to be, one thing that hasn’t changed is how much kids love those days when they “should” be at school, but instead, get to stay home, sleep in and hang out. Parents, however, don’t embrace the days off with quite the same enthusiasm, especially if the weather is less than pleasant. What to do with a couple of kids bouncing off the walls by 10:30 am? My answer, along with quite a few other parents, is take to Brennan Park. The pool has been a sanity saver on many a pro-d day, but this last Friday, as I talked with some people who were visiting from a small town up north, I realized what a great thing it is to have a community center like Brennan Park. That got me thinking about community in general. For places like Brennan Park to exist, we need strong stable communities. It takes commitment from local residents and money from municipal government to build and maintain places like the pool and arena. Community centers are built when people invest in the area by buying homes and getting involved, because buying a house doesn’t just mean good things for us, it means good things for our whole valley. When new home buyers, whether first timers using the CMHC mortgage initiative or those who have been in the market before, buy a property, they help us all. Building and buying homes are good for the economy. Construction and sales generate significant economic activity including the movement of goods (who doesn’t do a little redecorating when you buy a new house), creation of jobs and government revenue. Now, I know nobody likes the idea of paying taxes, but that government revenue is what keeps Brennan Park going as well as garbage collection and other projects in town that keep the rest of Squamish working and looking good. Every time a home changes hands, the transaction generates $42,000 in economic spin-offs and 2.8 jobs. While 2.8 jobs may not sound like a lot, with 16,300 housing starts and $4.4billion in home renovations expected in Metro Vancouver in 2012, 70,000 jobs will be created and generate about $3.5 billion in wages. If even a tenth of that happened in Whistler, 7,000 jobs could be created next year! Home ownership is thought to improve the quality of family life and the quality of the neighbourhood through the stability home ownership implies and through the sense of pride and responsibility that most owners take in their investment. Residential neighbourhoods where a majority of the people own instead of rent tend to be better taken care of and safer. With the lowest cost of borrowing in a generation and a buyer’s market, a perfect way to help build our community while at the same time better our own family lives is to buy into the residential real estate market.