Co-housing. What the heck is that?
If you live in or near the 1700-block East 33rd Avenue, you may find out soon.
City council recommended Tuesday that an application by Cedar Cottage Co-housing Corporation to rezone property on East 33rd be referred to a public hearing.
The corporation wants to build a three-storey building containing 31 units of “strata-titled market housing within a co-housing community.” Two of the units will be required to be rental. If approved, the development will be the first of its kind in Vancouver. Apparently, Burnaby, North Vancouver and Langley already have their own such developments.
In fact, there are only nine co-housing communities in Canada, with seven in B.C. More than 100 operate in the United States. It’s a relatively new form of housing/living in North America since it was only introduced in 1988. The Danes, apparently, are the pioneers.
So how does it work?
Residents typically own their homes and share a “common house” with extensive amenities such as a kitchen and dining room, children’s playroom, workshops, guest rooms, home office support, arts and crafts area, laundry, etc.
Each home is self-sufficient with a complete kitchen but resident-cooked dinners are often available in the common house for those who wish to participate.
Residents participate in the planning, design, ongoing management and maintenance of their community. So, yep, everybody has to get along.
With the Vancouver proposal, the corporation has included a set of so-called house rules. They include rules on voting, cooking responsibilities, housekeeping, policies for guests and pets and the need for “conflict resolution protocol” and a “harmonious relations team.”
There’s also a provision for the use of coloured cards by tenants during meetings. Green is held up to express an opinion on an issue, yellow if you have a question or need clarification and red to “clarify process issues but NOT block content.”
City council, for the record, has no plans to adopt such a system and prefers to continue with the political theatre that passes as productive decision making.
See most recent performance at city hall for details.
In other city hall news…
Quite a week — not only is Courier colleague Allen Garr on Twitter but some guy who goes by the handle @InsiderDoug is attracting followers.
The tweeter claims to be a “longtime City of Vancouver staffer without the freedom to say what he thinks with his real face but who’s worried about Vancouver city hall.”
I reached out to @InsiderDoug this week but he wasn’t interested in a Twitter Q&A; the city’s PR department must have gotten to him.
Unfortunately, that’s not a joke. Anyway, I asked him how we in the Twitterverse are to believe he works at city hall and is not just some political operative from a non-Vision Vancouver party? “I’m anonymous, so you don’t. Believe it or don’t. Your decision.”