The first public outreach for Whistler's first cohousing development took place on Tuesday night, June 11 with roughly 20 people coming out to hear Alan Forrester discuss cohousing and what's possible in the Cheakamus Crossing location.
In early May, the project inked an agreement with the Whistler Development Corporation to buy the lot from the municipality for $850,000 - providing the project has enough public support to go ahead.
This summer, Forrester is hoping to find at least 10 interested individual or families that would form a board to help design a four-storey building, mapping out the layout of the units and what kinds of common amenities that residents would like to have. The units will be privately owned and can be bought and sold on the open market, but Forrester said they had no intention to sell to non-residents from Vancouver and elsewhere that are looking for a second home.
"This is for people that are interested in community, they want to know their neighbours and have a relationship with them," he said.
The meeting went over the different amenities that cohousing residents could opt for, from common kitchens and common meeting space to shared workrooms, offices, fitness facilities, games rooms, gardens, outdoor space, play areas, music rooms, guest rooms and more. The lot is zoned for a building up to 17,800 square feet.
The Cheakamus Crossing location was considered by builders to be optimal with a park and playground next door, a hostel to provide guest rooms, a community garden and other amenities already in the neighbourhood.
Forrester said the costs will be determined by the build, but a studio could sell for around $200,000 and a three-bedroom for $700,000. There would also be strata costs, but those are generally lower than at other developments as residents can share the responsibility for landscaping, maintenance, finances and other upkeep costs.
Peter Skeels, who is currently renting in Alpine Meadows, said he has been interested in some kind of sustainable, shared housing project for a number of years. One of the reasons he likes cohousing model is the community aspect.
"I think in Whistler... people are so transient and people are always coming and going," he said. "To have people form their own community within the community? That's what's really intriguing about the project."
Before committing, Skeels said he would like to know more about the operating costs of the building - although he expects them to be lower than other multifamily, strata residents. "To be able to tap into the knowledge of everybody living there, and know what you're supposed to do and when, is really appealing."
Forrester said the next stage would be to meet the architect in July. Information about that meeting will be posted in the next few weeks.
For more on the cohousing project, visit www.walktocohousing.ca.
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