[Editor’s Note: Following is an article that was prepared for Vancouver Is Awesome.]

Compass Cohousing provides private dwellings with community living.

When recently retired Diane Kennedy decided to move to Langley to be closer to her 18-month old grandson, she opted to join the Compass Cohousing project.

“This seems like the perfect situation for us. I’m on my own, but I want to be in a fun place for my grandson to come play,” Kennedy says.

“The idea of sharing and setting that example for future generations was part of the attraction of Compass Cohousing.”

Compass Cohousing plans to build 40 cohousing homes, slated for completion close to Fall 2023.

Each property is strata titled, just like a standard condo project. Individuals own their own units and benefit from any gain in the value of property over time.

In addition to all units being heated and cooled by heat pumps, 40 of the 60 planned parking spots are being pre-wired for the future addition of electric car chargers.

“I have a strong interest in living in a way that is an example for future generations,” shares Kennedy. “Hearing about the various green initiatives that Compass plans on implementing — from EV charging to solar panel roofing — sparks my interest in being part of this community even more.”

View of Compass Cohousing’s common house from the courtyard.
View of Compass Cohousing’s common house from the courtyard. Rendering: Ankenman Marchand Architects.

The concept of cohousing originated in Denmark in the 1960s. While individual units are strata, what sets cohousing apart is the common house. This is a building with shared amenities that features a large dining/activities room, large kitchen, lounges, children’s play room, laundry room, reading areas, guest room, exercise spaces, a workshop, a music room,and much more. These spaces are shared by everyone in the community.

“For me, the idea of sharing meals as I get older is really exciting,” Kennedy says.

Kennedy also loves the idea of the people without children taking turns to make breakfast for the children on the weekends so the parents will have a chance to sleep in.

“Personally I love to have children around. I was a camp counselor when I was younger and then a parent, so I’ve always had lots of interaction with children and I feel that’s how I have had the opportunity to grow myself,” she says.

Diane Kennedy with family. Image provided by Compass Cohousing.
Diane Kennedy with family. Image provided by Compass Cohousing.

Compass will have safe indoor and outdoor areas for children to play in as well as a group of children who will live in the community. If other cohousing communities are anything to go by, all kids at Compass will spend some of their time being “free range” and playing in groups.

It’s expected that visiting grandchildren will also become a treasured and important part of the community.

“There are children and grandchildren of the same age, so much potential for them to be playmates and to spontaneously connect,” Kennedy says.

“I heard from one of the children at another cohousing project that he didn’t need to make playdates because his friends were over all the time.”

That sense of community and camaraderie is what drew Kennedy to the project. She contemplated buying a condo on her own near her family, but instead decided that joining in on Compass would be the ideal situation.

“Given that the times are a little uncertain right now, I have an even stronger need for community,” Kennedy says.

“It makes me feel even more eager to set myself up in a place where there will be lots of positive things happening around me.”

To learn more about Compass Cohousing, visit compasscohousing.com.


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