- When you envision your life as you grow older, do you believe you will be doing the same things and interacting with the same people that you do now?
- If driving in traffic to have dinner with friends, attend events, or social activities becomes more onerous—or perhaps temporarily impossible, how will you cope?
- Do you have friends and neighbours close by who will sustain your social needs?
- If you were to become less mobile than you are now, how might your life and activities change?
- Do you have friends or family close by with whom to interact or who could take care of light chores—like shopping, light housekeeping, or meal prep?
- Do you have the desire to hone your ability to communicate with others and continue your emotional and spiritual growth as you grow older?
- Is your need for independence, privacy, and personal space absolute, or do you see yourself benefiting from a balance of privacy, interdependence, and community?
Building on the success of Harbourside Cohousing in Sooke and modeled after the cohousing concept that emerged in Denmark about 50 years ago, West Wind Harbour is a diverse group of independent households in the process of developing a beautiful property on Sooke Harbour with expansive water and mountain views and amenities a quick walk away in the village core. West Wind Harbour will address the above issues in an environment that will enrich each individual’s life now and well into later years, providing support to remain independent. Such communities grow in importance as British Columbia decreases access and funding for home and community services for seniors.
West Wind Harbour Cohousing was established in the fall of 2016 and a site was secured at 6603 Sooke Road with the goal of establishing a vibrant community of architecturally innovative, environmentally sound, strata-titled condos with extensive common facilities that encourage neighbourly interaction while respecting individual autonomy and privacy.
West Wind Harbour Cohousing has retained most of the same experienced professionals that guided the development of Harbourside Cohousing including Cohousing Development Consulting and Mobius Architecture, among others. The community of approximately 32 households will have leading-edge environmental features including passive solar, energy- efficient heating systems, and compact design. Once the development process is complete (around the beginning of 2020) member households will purchase the units that have been created during the development process.
A unique aspect of cohousing is that while the physical structures are being designed, developed, and constructed, the residents participate in the process of creating a community that will reflect their values with a balance of privacy and community. Though West Wind Harbour is senior focused, it is not age restricted, and while most members are in their 60s, children are welcome as are pets. All residences are self-contained, including complete kitchens, for example, but there will also be two common houses with kitchens and dining areas, lounge, guestrooms, and other facilities. Common activities, such as periodic shared meals and game and movie nights, can be important aspects of community life but are always optional.
All members of the co-housing group must be able to afford to purchase a home in the cohousing community, be willing and able to take on the responsibilities and obligations of equity membership, and are required to complete Margaret Critchlow’s workshop Is Cohousing for You? prior to joining. Regular meetings are scheduled as needed for member input and consensus-based decision-making. Relationships are strengthened through discussions at meetings and working together on committees. When the homes are built, the members will work together to organize maintenance and ongoing upkeep duties.
Already, the community has 13 equity households and several associate members. It is expected that most of the approximately 32 units will be spoken for by the end of the year.
To obtain more information about the project, consult the website: westwindharbour.ca. This provides more information about existing equity members, the community, cohousing in general, and how to join. Sign up for upcoming information sessions on Eventbrite, or contact West Wind Harbour directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org, and visit www.facebook.com/westwindharbour/
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