Cohousing isn't just for longhaired hippies and well-fed yuppies, it's an alternative housing movement, and it's coming to the Sea to Sky Corridor.
Peter Scholz of Terralandria Stewardship is on a mission to bring the cohousing concept to the Sea to Sky Corridor. In a presentation to council on Tuesday (May 19), Scholz said shared resources reduce the cost of living among cohousing participants.
According to the Canadian Cohousing Network, cohousing is a unique form of housing composed of private homes with full kitchens, supplemented by extensive common facilities. Scholz calls it intentional community living.
"Cohousing allows you to get involved in building community while you are building a big structure," Scholz said. "There's an emphasis on communal facilities and approximately 10 per cent of housing in Scandinavia uses the concept."
Call it a return to the close-knit neighbourhoods of the past, Scholz's said his concept has garnered support from the likes of the Whistler Housing Authority. Scholz said Canada is home to 12 different cohousing communities in places such as the Sunshine Coast, Burnaby and Langley.
"We are looking to attract well established households that can put down 30 per cent on a project," Scholz said. "Banks want 30 per cent cash up front."
After the initial investment, cohousing participants will have title on their piece of the development and can sell it on the open market if they choose.
The presentation to council was the first stop in Scholz's campaign for cohousing in the Sea to Sky Corridor. He has plans to make the same presentation in communities throughout the area. His goal is to get a core group of people interested in starting a cohousing project.
"I am in the process of increasing awareness of an established model that has proven successful. When there is enough interest, the next step will be an open house," Scholz said.
Once a core group of 10 to 12 families is established, Scholz said a location will be determined.
"My feeling is that we will look where the land is a little cheaper which might mean Pemberton or Squamish," Scholz said.
Council was initially supportive of the cohousing model and Coun. Patricia Heintzman said the concept has been discussed as part of Squamish's affordable housing strategy. District planner Chris Bishop also confirmed that zoning bylaws could accommodate a cohousing project with a few amendments.
In the meantime, Scholz is gathering support. He said the projects create the type of community that many people long for.
"When I first heard about cohousing I was expecting a group of longhaired hippies to be involved but I met very articulate, well educated socially conscious people who are involved in making their lives better and the world a better place," Scholz said.
For more information on cohousing or to get involved, contact Peter Scholz at 604-698-0464 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.