Co-hous­ing project pro­posed for Bridge­wa­ter

South Shore Breaker - - Local - KATHY JOHN­SON kathy.john­son@bel­

A co-hous­ing project that would cre­ate a unique neigh­bour­hood with added ameni­ties and would be the first of its kind in At­lantic Canada is be­ing pro­posed for Bridge­wa­ter.

Co-hous­ing gen­er­ally speak­ing is: “A group of peo­ple work­ing to­gether to cre­ate and main­tain their own neigh­bour­hood,” said Cate de Vreede, who, along with her hus­band, Leon, pitched the idea at an in­for­ma­tion ses­sion on Sept. 29 at the Lunen­burg County Life­style Cen­tre.

“It’s a type of in­ten­tional com­mu­nity and it’s built so the phys­i­cal build­ings re­ally sup­port the so­cial com­mu­nity,” said Cate. “It’s kind of like an old-fash­ioned neigh­bour­hood in some ways, but it’s done in a dif­fer­ent way.”

Cate says the com­mon house is the heart of the co-hous­ing com­mu­nity and has ameni­ties that are owned by ev­ery­one in the com­mu­nity. “So, when you buy a home there, you’re en­ti­tled to shared ameni­ties as well.” The com­mon house would have things like a kitchen and din­ing area where the com­mu­nity can share meals, a kid’s play­room, per­haps a wood­work­ing shop, guest rooms ...” says Cate. “Places where the com­mu­nity can gather or have ac­cess to things that they don’t need to have in their own home, but can share with oth­ers in the com­mu­nity. The idea is not ev­ery­one needs their own wood­work­ing shop or their own lawn­mower or their own shed of gar­den tools. Those things peo­ple may want to share with oth­ers. With co-hous­ing, you’re get­ting a lot for your money, your own home and ac­cess to much, much more.”

Cate’s fam­ily was orig­i­nally drawn to the eco­log­i­cal val­ues of co-hous­ing com­mu­ni­ties. “Typ­i­cally, you could have a re­ally, en­ergy-ef­fi­cient en­vi­ron­men­tally re­spon­si­ble home made pos­si­ble and more af­ford­able by do­ing it to­gether with other folks. Since our son has been born, we’re even more drawn to the com­mu­nity as­pect of it, so that idea of ‘it takes a vil­lage to raise a child,’ that re­ally res­onates with us. That’s the kind of place we

want to raise a fam­ily. We be­lieve our qual­ity of life will be en­hanced with co-hous­ing.”

Typ­i­cally, there’s be­tween 20 to 35 units in a co-hous­ing project, which can be mul­ti­ple-story build­ings in big cities, or spread out in ru­ral ar­eas. For Bridge­wa­ter, the de Vreedes are look­ing at 25 to 30 units. “There might be some town­houses, some du­plexes, some quad­plexes, build­ing clus­ters … co-hous­ing projects are fi­nanced by the fu­ture home­own­ers so the group that comes to­gether de­signs it, plans it and fi­nances it,” said Cate. Adding while they don’t need to have all the units pre-sold to start, they need a good strong core to move for­ward.

So far, 13 co-hous­ing projects have been com­pleted in Canada, said Cate, with oth­ers in for­ma­tion or de­vel­op­ment. Although there aren’t any co-hous­ing projects in At­lantic Canada yet, Cate adds that there is in­ter­est in the re­gion.

“Peo­ple are ea­ger to have it here. We’re feel­ing a lot of en­ergy for our project. We’ve got­ten a lot of in­ter­est in the last cou­ple of weeks, so I think it’s time.”

The de Vreedes will be hold­ing other in­for­ma­tion ses­sions in the fall where peo­ple can find out about the project and co-hous­ing, with the hope that by the new year, they will have a group of po­ten­tial res­i­dents.

More in­for­ma­tion on co­hous­ing can be found at www.bridge­wa­ter­co­hous­


From left: Cate, Leon and son Dy­lan de Vreede. Cate and Leon hope to de­velop a co-hous­ing project for Bridge­wa­ter.


Har­bour­side Co­hous­ing in Sooke, B.C.


Cate de Vreede (left) and Teresa Quilty pose by the Pa­cific Gar­dens Co­hous­ing sign in Nanaimo, B.C., dur­ing a re­cent co-hous­ing study tour on Van­cou­ver Is­land.

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