I really don't understand that attitude. No one else is asking for a handout, why are they? Where do they think the money will come from if there isn't any involved in the project, and people are already donating time and equipment? If they don't want to be involved they could just say no.
The "attitude" is one of realism. Community WISP's are generally operated on the basis of the landowner getting free Internet. Generally, unless the people involved with the project are the same people who owns the land, there has to be another motivation - monetary reward, community good or self interest.
This community ISP is unlikely to be able to afford to pay the landowners, so what can they offer? Especially to a landowner who already has ADSL, VDSL or wireless from the Kordia tower?
In case you are not fully aware of the situation: Bethells has nothing beside a 'blink and you will miss it' cabinet on the side of the road. Last I heard there was a wait list for ports on this. Nothing else - no wireless or cellular options. To pull off a WISP, they will need to site equipment on the land of one or more people who do have options. What's in it for them?
There was a time when I once believed in the communal good. Maybe, to a small extent I still do. But after visiting (and staying at) some communities around NZ which purport to epitomize these values, I have become rather cynical about whether the vast majority of people (even myself?) truly believe in selfless actions.
This is one of the biggest challenges any community WISP endeavor will face and is among the main reasons these ideas rarely get off the ground.