A few days ago at a playground, I spoke with a young family who had just returned to Nelson after 20 years away. Finding an affordable place to rent or buy has been a daunting task for this family. They are not alone.
I also find myself priced out of Nelson housing market at 59, after living and working here for 34 years. The only way I could afford to buy a home is by sharing, so I started researching models of shared home ownership. I settled on cohousing and found a few other like-minded people who want to make cohousing in Nelson a reality, and others who would prefer a rural community. Heddlestone Village at Six Mile is a nearby example and there are many similar neighbourhoods flourishing across Canada and around the world.
Cohousing neighbourhoods differ from other types of strata developments, because they are designed by the people living there, reflecting their vision rather than that of a developer. They combine privately owned units with shared spaces and facilities. Some of the benefits of cohousing include improved health from increased social connections, opportunities to share common interests and skills, vehicles and tools, maintenance expenses, meals and entertainment.
Your neighbourhood can be designed to welcome individuals and families from across the spectrum of age and lifestyle as well as to allow aging and dying in place. Cohousing neighbourhoods also embody environmental sustainability because of the smaller homes, green building practices and efficient energy systems made possible by combined efforts and shared resources. Find out more about cohousing on the Canadian Cohousing Network website at https://cohousing.ca.
We are looking for more people to join us, those who want to live in a shared community, and those who have suitable land. We also welcome assistance from people who have experience with housing development, sustainable construction practices, financial management, grant applications, municipal zoning, and website development.
If this interests you, please contact our group at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Irina Peters (with Candace Holt, Sheri Walsh, and June Hamley)