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General · 25th October 2013
Maureen McDowell
Members of Quadra Circle's Housing Committee recently visited Creekside Commons Cohousing in Courtenay. The Cohousing model fits well for those who want to own and manage their own inter-generational 'village' with shared resources and some supports for 'aging-in-place'. (See: www.canadianseniorcohousing.com)

Creekside Commons Cohousing started in 2005 when the founding group used their own seed money to buy a 10-acre serviced site and obtained a land purchase and construction mortgage for the $10 million project. This multi-generational group had formed around an ecological theme: participants were interested in: downsizing; sharing common equipment and facilities; minimizing parking areas and use of gas-powered tools; 'green' buildings, etc. They hired Ronaye Matthew (of Cohousing Development Consulting) as project co-ordinator, who assisted them to develop a consensus model of what they wanted, then supervised design and construction.

Layout: Six 'Neighbourhoods' of 6 duplexes are linked by common paved walk-ways and lawns. Homes are 2, 3, 4 and 5 bedroom duplexes, ranging from 900sq.ft to3000sq.ft, with each having a strata title to the interior dimensions of the home and backyard. Resale and rentals are allowed providing new owners and tenants agree to the Cohousing operating guidelines. Cars are not permitted beyond the parking lot so residents take their groceries, etc. home in carts along the common pathways.

Common areas and Strata Fees: Strata fees are $188/month to cover buildings insurance, water, hydro and a reserve fund on the common areas, including the exteriors of every home, the vegetable garden, the Common House, orchard, children's playground, workshop with crafts room and greenhouse attached, boat-shed, parking lot with 1 slot per unit. Tools are owned by all, including a truck, and must be signed out for use. Workshop tools and equipment were donated by owners. The Common House (3500 sq. ft) includes a large living room/dining room, communal kitchen, 2 meeting rooms, laundry room, kids playroom, 2 visitors suites.

Building Community and Consensus: The 70 residents meet monthly to discuss concerns in operating their community. All are expected to volunteer in one of the shared-task teams: community garden, exterior building maintenance, compost, landscape maintenance, orchard. Wednesday potlucks and special meals prepared by volunteer cooks in the Common House are ways the residents keep regular contact. They help each other with chores, often bartering skills.

Their Advice for Quadra Circle
: Set guidelines for pets in advance; decide on how to handle changing expectations on older residents to help with chores when they can't do them any more; how to deal with residents who don't do their share of volunteer duties or participate in decision-making meetings monthly. Make sure the reserve fund is adequate to cover all building exteriors.

Quadra Circle's Housing Committee is now working on a Housing action plan. Cohousing is just one of several options. For more information contact Mary at 285-3084.

Quadra Home MealsThe Quadra Home Meals program provides weekly meal orders for a nominal cost of $5 per meal to Island seniors or care-givers unable to cook regularly and to anyone dealing with illness or recovering from surgery. These tasty, nutritious meals are prepared specially for the program by the Gowlland Harbour Resort Chef. Choices range from soup/stew with bun, to a small entree to a full meal with fish or meat, vegetables and a starch. Food preferences, allergies and special diets are accommodated. Meals can be reheated or frozen for later use. You can pick them up at the Community Centre on Wednesdays between 11:30am and 12 noon. If needed, the meals can be delivered by our volunteers. To order by Sunday noon call Marie:285-3950, Lynda:285-3205 or Karen: 285-3064.

Friday Lunch: Many thanks to Alison Whyte for preparing the wonderful West African feast and to Pat Lowes who gave a fascinating slide presentation of her African trip. A big thank you to Mariana and the Gowlland Harbour Resort staff who provided the Cortes Seniors group and us with an excellent lunch and to the Island artists who hosted our visitors for their day on Quadra: Mimi Smienk, William Van Orden and Terry Phillips. Thanks also to Betty Doak of Quadra's Emergency Services team who gave valuable tips for seniors in the event of an earthquake Learn more at www.getprepared.gc.ca

On Nov.1 Pat Lowes will continue her slide presentation of her trip to Africa. Join us at 1281 West Road (in the Lower Level of Quadra Bible Church). Arrive for 11am armchair exercises with Ann Lawrence or at noon for lunch and the presentation. For more information contact Karen at 285-3064 or Mary at 285-3084.