–Bob Stamp, photos by Britt Santowski (c) SPN
British Columbia’s first senior cohousing community—and just the second in Canada—celebrated its official opening Thursday, July 28 2016, in Sooke..
Harbourside Senior Cohousing features 31 individual units plus a common house in a waterside setting on Sooke Harbour. Owners range in age from their late forties to mid-eighties.
“Cohousing is a neighbourhood design that combines the independence of private homes with the advantages of common amenities and a village-style support system,” stated founding member Margaret Critchlow in her prepared remarks. “Future residents developed Harbourside themselves, then strata titled it like conventional condos.”
Demand for this type of housing, originating in Denmark more than 50 years ago, is increasing throughout British Columbia and North America. All 31 Harbourside units were purchased prior to construction. Harbourside currently has 258 names on a waiting list.
A second local group, Sooke Cohousing, will hold a “Getting Community Built” workshop this weekend. Meanwhile, Saanich Peninsula Cohousing is negotiating for a land purchase.
Harbourside’s origins go back to late 2010 when a small group of local residents began planning for a senior cohousing community. Seven founding households purchased the site in 2013 and construction began in October 2014.
“There are two wings to the unusual and beautiful bird that is a cohousing community,” stated Critchlow in her remarks at Thursday’s opening. “One is the grassroots, volunteer group of future homeowners who took the risk and invested the money to develop the project at cost. The other wing is the team of professionals hired by the group to bring expertise to the project.”
Opening ceremonies in front of the Harbourside common house at 6681 Horne Road will feature a blessing by Shirley Alphonse of the T’sou-ke Nation, ribbon cutting, and light refreshments.
Invited guests include local MLA John Horgan, Sooke mayor Maja Tait, project manager Ronaye Matthew, architect Peter Treuheit, Aimee North of Campbell Construction, and members of the local business community.
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