Nelson’s only housing co-operative marked its 20th anniversary on Saturday.
Residents gathered to celebrate the benchmark with a midday barbeque. The event doubled as a Halloween party, as kids and adults tested their new costumes and compete for the title of best dressed before taking a swing at the piñata strung from the swing set.
“There’s a real sense of community here. We know our neighbours and like to get together and do stuff like this as much as we can,” explained Sharmaine Gray, chair of the Links housing co-op board of directors and a 13 year resident.
The 31 row houses managed by Links overlook Granite Point golf course in Rosemont. About 60 people of all ages and income levels live there. Eighteen of the units are subsidized based on income and the remainder are rented out for below-market prices.
When units become available, new tenants are selected by a committee.
“We look for people that will be a good fit and really want to be part of our little community,” Gray said.
Like members of any co-op, residents at Links buy member shares and are partial owners of the property during the time they live there. They hold regular meetings and everyone gets a say on how the property is run.
“We don’t have a landlord telling us what we can or can’t do. We decide that as a group based on what’s best for everyone,” Gray said. “Everyone watches out for each other; we’re like a family in that way.”
The first 19 units in the complex were built in 1992, with funding from the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation, and 12 more were added three years later, thanks to a grant from the BC Housing Commission.
Links is not currently accepting new member applications.