Where is Compass Cohousing to be located?
We will be located in Langley, British Columbia near the corner of 203rd Street and 66th Avenue (see the map on our Home Page). We will be an urban village close to many commercial amenities and walking trails.
Is Compass Cohousing a co-op?
Although Co-ops and cohousing communities share many of the same values (shared resources, common meals together, sharing the maintenance and management of the community), they have very different legal structures. The residential units at Compass Cohousing are strata units. You will have freehold title to your own home. This means you can, at any time, sell your home. Additionally, you enjoy any increase in the value of your home, thereby allowing you to build equity in your property.
Is Compass Cohousing a developer?
Yes we are. We have incorporated a company in British Columbia to develop the project and all the members of Compass who will be living in the community are shareholders in the company. With the help of our architects and builder, we design our building, our living units and our landscaping.
How do you fund the project?
As with all cohousing projects (as they are truly “grass roots” developments), the members of the community provide capital to make the project move ahead. Each member will be required to contribute between 15 to 20 percent of the cost of the residential unit they wish to purchase prior to construction. This is not different from the amount of deposit you would put down on any strata unit or single family home. Of course we will also require bank financing for the final land purchase and construction costs.
Does Compass Cohousing make a profit on this project?
No we do not. All units are sold to our members at cost.
When will the project be ready for people to move in?
We are currently in our design and development stages. The municipality is in the process of subdividing and rezoning the land for our needs. Our development permit proposal has been submitted to the municipality. Our timeline indicates that we should be able to move in around the fall of 2022.
As a community, what are your guiding principles?
We are dedicated to inclusiveness, sustainability, volunteerism, living responsibly and being supportive of one another.
Will Compass have a strata council?
Yes, but we will amend our bylaws such that all members are on the strata council. In cohousing we do not elect a small group to represent us on a strata council. Everyone is effectively on the “council”, as we manage our affairs by way of consensus decision making. To understand consensus decision making, please go to the Blog section of the website and read “Consensus Decision Making in Cohousing”.
Will owners have to pay strata fees?
Yes. As with all strata ownership, strata fees will be required. This is necessary to allow for a contingency fund in case major repairs are required. However, cohousing communities usually have significant reserves for such occasions because a substantial amount of the regular maintenance (such as pruning, gardening, lawn mowing and minor repairs) is done by members who form work teams when required.
Does everyone have to participate in the general maintenance of the community?
Most will want to participate, as we will, no doubt, take great pride in our community. However, we fully appreciate that some, due to age, health or time constraints may be less involved. But if you can’t mow a lawn or rake leaves, perhaps you can make coffee, hot chocolate or soup for those who can? We believe that there is a way for everyone to be involved.
Will Compass support people with disabilities?
We will have sufficiently wide doorways in all common areas, many accessible paths and an elevator, along with appropriately placed handicapped parking spaces. We plan to have some raised garden beds (probably on our roof top) that will be wheelchair accessible. Additionally, we are partnering with a local society that supports those with disabilities and they are offering input into the design process for common spaces. (This society has expressed an interest in purchasing several of our units). We are not able to design individual units to accommodate a person’s particular disability. That would have to be done at the owners expense. We want, as mush as possible, for our community to reflect the diversity that exists in the greater community. Another of our goals is to build a development that gives people the greatest possibility of aging in place.
What is a Common House?
The common house is truly the heart of the community. It is where people gather to eat meals together, chat, plan, do crafts, exercise, dance, do photography, play bridge, build things, play cards, make music or just hang out in the rooftop lounge. It will also be a space where you can access quiet office space so that you can work very close to home. The common house is effectively an extension of your home. It’s where community happens.
Why do community members eat meals together?
Shared meals in the common house are really the glue of the community. (Metaphorically speaking. The meals taste much better.) It’s a chance for everyone who wants to join in to get together and catch up with neighbours or make plans. Many activities are planned during the meals without the need for organizing a committee. Also people will often find it most convenient to come home at the end of the day, wander over to the common house and have their evening meal with friends. Each household is responsible for preparing the shared meal approximately one day each month. That means, if you attend all the shared meals, you hardly ever have to cook dinner.
I love gardening. Will I still be able to do that?
We have many avid gardeners in our community. As a result, we are planning community gardens both at the ground level and on the rooftop of our Common House. In addition, we will be incorporating fruit bearing trees and shrubs into our landscape and there will be an abundance of herbs in our courtyard level community planters. We will even have planters designated for children interested in gardening. So, yes, there will be plenty of opportunities to garden and an edible landscaping for all to enjoy.
Are there schools nearby?
Elementary, Middle and Secondary schools are located with 2.5 kms of our location. Kwantlen Polytechnic University is located 3 kms away.
How do I get involved with Compass Cohousing?
We have two levels of membership.
Associate Membership: This is an entry level membership ($150 for four months) that allows you to join in all membership meetings, participate in the conversation and ask all the questions you may have and have access to all our financial records. The idea is to allow you a period to get to know us and learn more about the project before you decide whether you would like to make a commitment.
Equity Membership: If you have decided that cohousing is for you and you like the group, you can step up to an equity position whereby you contribute $30,000 toward the purchase of your unit. This makes you a shareholder in the development company and as well as a director. As we move closer to the construction date, we will all be contributing additional funds totalling 15 to 20 percent of the value of the unit we have selected to purchase. All funds go toward building the project.
No member of Compass Cohousing earns a fee, stipend nor pittance. We do this because we know how and where we want to live are we are willing to put in the time and energy to make it happen.
Who are you Compass people, anyway?
We are an eclectic) group of teachers, pharmacists, computer programmers, photographers, business people, construction manager, office managers, families, singles and retirees, all looking to share our knowledge and experiences.
I don’t want to own a car. Will you have a car share program?
We are planning an electric car share program of between 2 to 6 cars (depending upon demand). All parking spaces will be roughed in for electric vehicle charging stations and we will add chargers as needed.