The Globe and Mail’s 24 Oct 2014 article on cohousing in BC is timely and adds visibility to cohousing, but is not quite up to date.
Harbourside Cohousing belongs on the list of successful BC cohousing projects. Harbourside is the first senior cohousing project in BC and only the second in Canada. The project manager for Harbourside, for the first Canadian senior cohousing in Saskatoon, and for five other cohousing communities in BC was Ronaye Matthew of Cohousing Development Consultants in Burnaby.
Harbourside Cohousing now has members committed to buying all 31 dwelling units. It is unusual, but not unheard of, for a cohousing community to sell out before construction gets underway. Roberts Creek Cohousing was a case in point back in 2004, but to sell out in the more challenging, current economic climate suggests that Harbourside is offering something many people want. The cohousing has its own waterfront and wharf. Each energy-efficient, compact unit has an unobstructed, south facing view with a deck the width of the unit. But even more attractive is the sense of community and connection with neighbours.
Harbourside will be strata titled upon completion, but it will be a strata with a difference. An emphasis on what is best for the whole cohousing community brings diverse individuals together while maintaining personal privacy. Informal mutual support, or co-care, invites members to flourish as they grow older. Independence is maintained partly by recognizing that we are all interdependent, and by valuing social interaction at a time in members’ lives when social isolation can be a greater mortality risk than smoking.
The first ten Harbourside members who committed to equity membership in 2013 came from Sooke and environs. How appropriate that the last household to join Harbourside almost two years later also is local. In between, BC members have come from greater Victoria, Port Alberni, Comox, Campbell River, the lower mainland, and Prince George as well as Sooke. Harbourside also has five member households form Alberta seeking milder winters! One member is relocating to Sooke from Berlin.
Harbourside will be keeping a waiting list for potential owners. If any units become available during the development phase, which is expected to extend through 2015, new owners must follow the requirements that applied to all earlier members, become associate members, and take the weekend Royal Roads University course, “Dare to Age Well in Community.” The course is next offered in January 2015. A few owners plan to rent out their units initially, so a renters list is also being kept. Anyone interested in learning more is invited to visit www.harbourside.ca and email firstname.lastname@example.org