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Concorde Newsletter

Hello again!

This email is our third monthly newsletter - monthly because we generally have two events in a month that you might be interested in and newsletter because things are starting to happen that we hope will be newsworthy. The second one was in 2018 so "monthly" is an aspiration that we hope to fulfill better this year.

If you are no longer interested in hearing from us MailChimp makes it easy for you to get off this list (see the bottom).

That's all for now.
take care,
Jake Morrison for
Concorde Cohousing
e. info@ConcordeCohousing.ca
w. ConcordeCohousing.ca
e. Jake@withflare.ca

November Events

Business meeting - Wednesday, November 13th from 6:30 - 9 pm. RSVP if you would like to come.

Fall Feast - Saturday, November 30th from 10:30 am - 2:00 pm. We will gather with potluck and some group cooking to have a Feast! Again, RSVP and we can discuss food and venue.

November Information Session
After the Feast, we will use the same room to hold an Information Session. The exact time will be decided next week. RSVP if you can make it. Tell your friends!

Internal Meetings
Communications, Membership, Outreach & Process (CMOP); Legal / Finance and Site Search – These meetings are open to those on the membership track. If you have a suggestion for one of these specific groups, please get in touch!

Discovery of the month

Concorde Member Carolyn Inch published the following in the Old Ottawa South community newspaper OSCAR in May, 2019:

Cohousing: Values and Returns

 

By Carolyn Inch

The sketch of Old Ottawa South on the cover of the April OSCAR looked appealing with its ample parks and benches along Bank Street, bordered by the blue of the canal and river. Our neighbourhood is brimming with amenities, community spirit and a crisis familiar to many gentrified downtown neighbourhoods – a lack of modest sized accommodation.
Those in large homes who no longer need that space but want to stay in the 'hood don't have many options. Nor do young families looking for a way into the neighbourhood. Enter the concept of cohousing. In the April OSCAR article by Catherine Read on aging in 00S, this solution was suggested for seniors rattling about in their large homes. It appeals to those for whom a strong, healthy community is as important as good housing.

 

Roots

Cohousing traces its roots to Denmark in the 1960s, although many of the principles have been with us for centuries. It's now widespread in northern Europe, parts of the US and in western Canada. As a site called "Senior Cohousing Canada" states:

Cohousing combines the autonomy of private dwellings with the advantages of shared common spaces and amenities.
Cohousing creates neighbourhoods based on:
• Participatory process
·    Privately-owned homes
·    Extensive common facilities
·    Design that facilitates community & ensures privacy
·    Resident management with consensus orientation
·    Sustainability – environmental, social, economic & cultural

 

Sharing Space and Amenities

The extensive common facilities allow individuals and families to own less privately, reducing their footprint and, marginally, their costs. The participatory clement, often with weekly common meals, develops community and support. If I had an opportunity to raise my children again, I would he very attracted to the concept as we didn't have the support of another generation living in Ottawa. With us both working, it was often hectic. As well, the children would have been raised participating in an intentional community. The skills developed in that environment are vital for the broader community, socially and politically, and would have been a lifetime asset.

 

Next Steps

After thirty years in Old Ottawa South, I'm embedded in a rich community that provides ample opportunity few socialization and support. However, I wonder about my housing next steps and realize that I need to take them while I'm able. At this point, cohousing is attractive as I seek to decrease my footprint. We need a space large enough for me and my partner to live comfortably and ability to expand when required, such as when celebrating an event or when children visit. It's also possible to share bikes, cars, goods and services.
With these thoughts rumbling about, we became members of a multi-generational, aspiring, cohousing group called "Concorde Cohousing." Our website can be found at concordecohousing.ca.
Concorde is interested in developing in central Ottawa. Areas under consideration take into account transportation and amenities. The group's ideal is the development of project from the ground up, however finding sufficient vacant land within the core within a reasonable price range is unlikely. Other options, such as redevelopment of existing condominiums, apartments and large estates are being considered as well.
The "participatory process" and "resident management with consensus orientation" create the need for endless meetings (a nightmare for a retired civil servant) and make forward movement slow. However, I'm new to the process and, after more exposure, the requirements of consensus decision making may become more clear. And during this time, I'm getting to know some very interesting, like-minded people.

 

Local Opportunities

Everywhere I turn now I see an opportunity for housing to he developed in a smarter, more community-based fashion. For example, in our neighbourhood, the old West Coast Video site could easily accommodate a moderate sized, multigenerational housing project, located right across the street from the public school. But a zoning waiver might be required for height as the project would require between 20 to 30 units to be viable.
Another intriguing option is building above Billings Bridge mall. Billings is right beside the RA Centre and the mall itself is a comfortable recreation complex for seniors in the winter. The presence of the Transitway bus station and the bike paths in the summer along the Rideau River makes it very attractive. While the mall itself was not designed to carry floors above, engineering solutions have been developed that allow structures to be self-supported above existing buildings. That's a lot of square footage ripe for housing development! As well, the RA Centre has a lot of potential development land around it, as does Carleton University, much of which is merely vacant, not parkland.

 

Partnerships

In order for cities to grow in a healthy fashion, with multi-generational neighbourhoods and a sense of community, it is important that development be taken out of the hands of developers motivated only by profit. Many municipalities are developing partnerships between community organizations and community developers. In an article called "Cohousing is an inclusive approach to smart, sustainable cities" by Cheryl Gladu on the Concordia University website, Cheryl lauds the merits that "intentional communities" could have in furthering positive development in Toronto. "The sense of community that emerges from cohousing developments is not merely due to its physical design, nor is it a happy accident — it is the central aim of the development and management process, which starts prior to the design and development of these communities."
 

Value

Cohousing projects not only reflect values, but may also add value to your investment if done successfully. I didn't find anything conclusive about re-sale value of cohouses on line, but a representative of a cohousing organization in Vancouver says that there are waiting lists for spots in their development and that they could sell at higher than market value. This may run counter to the principles of those who want to support affordable housing, and it's not a sure thing in all cases; however, it is encouraging for those who want to grow their investment while participating in a functional community.
If you are interested in exploring cohousing, contact Concorde Cohousing through their link at https://concordecohousing.ca/contact/
Carolyn Inch is a long-tine OOS resident.

 

Introducing ...


Jane Keeler
is one of our amazing founding members and often the first person to welcome visitors, so we thought we’d let her be the first member to be introduced in our newsletter!
 

I am a person who loves to be in groups— of people, or plants – – my Myers-Briggs code is ENFP. Extroverted, yes.
I am happiest in a garden, at a beach, or creating a spore print from my latest fungi find. 
I love music and improvisation of any kind. 
 
About 20 years ago, I joined in several years’ exploration by a group forming cohousing in the Ottawa area.  Many of those folks remain my good friends, although my partner and I did not join them in forming the first cohousing in Ottawa – – instead, we bought a side-by-side duplex in a wonderful central Ottawa neighborhood. Now we wish to find another way to create even more community.
 
My history is littered with “ Co’s”. I was one of the founders of the Circle Works collective, a group designed to create work for its members. Our group was a COllective. We incorporated,  and in our playful rules for incorporation each member of the group was a member of the board & our decisions were made by consensus., And when we came to an agreement our regulations required us to voice a chord (our accord!), probably an OM!
Soon after that, I joined co-counseling, a form of peer support in which members would trade roles from being a counselor to each other to being a client to each other.  I loved the egalitarian aspect which ensured no one would dominate and everyone would get a fair share of time and attention.  It also reinforced the idea that all of us have challenges and difficulties, and all of us can learn to listen.
I lived in a variety of “co-op houses,” situations in which people shared rental accommodations, cooking and sometimes even cleaning.  The 50 Clarey co-op members began the Clarey Streetfest which we believe eventually morphed into the fabulous Great Glebe Garage Sale.
My master’s independent research project was done as a co-creation with my good friend Elizabeth Shein. We also co-led co-counseling classes for a while! My favourite paper written for that degree was entitled “Celebration as an Ingredient of Social Change.”
 So my values and preferences for fun, company, equality, and frugal living have been well- established. I would like to share housing with others whose lives have brought them into somewhat of a similar alignment.

 

One last thing

Concorde Cohousing has been slowly gearing up to creating our community. We are currently working on our legal structure and our recruitment of new members while constantly looking for suitable properties.
If you would like to be in on the ground floor and help to shape the community and the project now is definitely the best time. Come meet us at a Business Meeting or a social and see what you think!
Also, if you have a friend who may be interested we'd love to meet them!

Happy to help.

Contact us at info@concordecohousing.ca or me at Jake@withflare.ca

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