Almost two years ago, residents of the city’s first cohousing development — Vancouver Cohousing — moved in. Located in Kensington-Cedar Cottage on East 33rd near Argyle Street, the building, which took years to develop, features 31 units. While residents own their own strata units, they also operate collaboratively to maintain the building and have strong social relationships reinforced through shared meals several times a week.
We caught up with one of the residents, Ericka Stephens-Rennie, to find out what life has been like in the close-knit community. She lives in a two-bedroom home within the complex with her husband and two children. Continue story
CBC News 6 pm Dec. 24, 2015
Vancouver co-housing complex: owners set to move into city’s first
Homeowners say unique set-up will build strong sense of community. For at least one new resident, the 31-unit co-housing complex in East Vancouver is a cure for loneliness. …Read More
Vanncouver co-housing movement gains traction KERRY GOLD VANCOUVER — Special to The Globe and Mail Published Friday, Oct. 24 2014, 1:22 PM EDT Vancouver’s first co-housing project is finally under construction and presales are almost sold out, with… Read More
CBC coverage with host Gloria Macarenko
Vancouver’s first cohousing project breaks ground
A new East Van development is being lauded as friendlier, more affordable and greener than most – but don’t plan on moving in if you can’t stomach the idea of cooking for 31 families every so often.
Vancouver’s first cohousing project broke ground on Tuesday, an occasion celebrated by future residents and city officials alike as shovels entered the ground near East 33rdAvenue and Victoria Drive.
The development, which sits on three lots in a single-family neighbourhood, will have 31 units and about 6,000 square feet of communal space in four three-storey buildings.
Residents buy the units similar to a condo strata (only three are still available), but opt to live in a close-knit community where decisions are made by consensus. While they take turns cooking about three communal meals each week, each unit comes with a private kitchen.
“This is a damn good idea,” Vision Vancouver Coun. Kerry Jang said at the groundbreaking. “It’s a great use of land, it’s a very sensitive amount of density and it reduces costs.”
Jang championed the project as an innovative way to deal with some of Vancouver’s problems, including the prevailing sense of loneliness in the city revealed in a Vancouver Foundation report that found residents lack a sense of community.
Although the units aren’t cheap, living is more affordable with shared office space and built-in babysitters, he said.
“It’s not for everybody but for the people it works for let’s do it,” he said, adding it’s part of the housing mix that can keep young people in the city. (There will be more than a dozen children living in the development when it’s ready in about 14 months.)
After thousands of hours of volunteer work and a marathon public hearing to rezone the land, future resident Darcy Riddell was thrilled to see construction start.
“It’s been a long haul. It’s really exciting,” she said.
While some neighbours didn’t like the idea of additional density on the street – the most opposed neighbour sold his house – Riddell said the cohousing community is excited to welcome the rest of the neighbourhood once it’s built. They plan to host potlucks, use their courtyard as a performance space and will even have a yoga room.
City Breaks Ground on Vancouver’s First Cohousing Project
Today saw the official groundbreaking for Vancouver’s first cohousing complex, being built on East 33rd near Argyle Street in Kensington Cedar-Cottage.
Construction is expected to take 14 months. The complex will be made up of four separate residential buildings and a communal “clubhouse” with a community kitchen and dining room, activity rooms for children and teenagers, office areas, guest rooms, a yoga studio and a rooftop garden. There will be also ground-level gardens, workshops, courtyard and a play area to encourage year-round social contact, according to Vancouver Cohousing.
The 31 homes will range from studios to one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom units – all with their own kitchens.
Three units remain unsold: a 450- square-foot studio at $286,080, a 1,055-square-foot three-bedroom unit at $622,485, and a 1,146-square-foot three-bedroom unit at $682,393. Negotiations are ongoing for two covenanted rental suites.
Brian Jackson, the city’s manager of planning and development, attended the groundbreaking to acknowledge the hard work that went into the seeing the project realized.
Jackson said that he had worked with planners to find creative ways to ensure community concerns were addressed, with the applicants to make sure that the city was responding to the unique circumstances of this type of development, and that city staff had toured a cohousing complex in Burnaby to learn more about how successful cohousing works.
REW.ca’s sister newspaper Vancouver Courier has taken a closer look at the project and its future residentshere.
Cohousing in Vancouver: Living outside the box
What if I told you that you could get more house than you pay for?
When I was younger, I shared a Brooklyn brownstone with several friends (and, later, strangers) in a collective-housing experiment that had gone horribly right. 11 people shared three full flats and a half-finished basement. The basement had no kitchen. My flat had no door. I would routinely find our basement-dweller midway through a pack of snack crackers as I came home from work. She’d look up, wide-eyed like a raccoon caught in the act of ransacking a kitchen.