Welcome to the website for Kawartha Commons, the Peterborough Cohousing group! Although the concept of cohousing has been discussed by many of us for a number of years, the group as currently configured began meeting on December 27th 2017 (with a party, naturally – we are all about social interaction, after all). This was followed by a workshop in early February, and meetings began in earnest in late February. We currently meet every three weeks. Together, we are learning about how cohousing works and what is involved in creating a community.
Here’s a draft version of a mission statement for our group, which we are still refining:
“Kawartha Commons is a self-organizing group committed to design, build and manage, by 2023, a 10 to 30 unit sustainable, accessible cohousing community within easy reach of central Peterborough, yet close to nature. Our intention is to move forward with open and honest communication, making all efforts to understand and resolve differences, and is motivated by our wish to create an inclusive, diverse and caring community open to a range of financial situations, which supports us in choosing our own destiny.”
You can find more information about our group and what we do by using the menu items at the top of this page. You can see a brief description of what cohousing is — including a page full of descriptions of visits that members of Kawartha Commons have made to about a dozen different cohousing communities across North America — and you can see a breakdown of some of the events we have had and new ones that are upcoming. You can also read some helpful documents and websites we’ve found about cohousing and how different communities are approaching it.
Members of our group are holding a series of “Cafe Conversations” about cohousing over the next few months — informal, small-group chats at the Silver Bean Cafe in Peterborough. Come and join us! No pressure, just an easy way to ask questions or talk about cohousing and what it means.
Our group had a public event at The Mount in Peterborough on Tuesday, June 19 that was attended by about 70 people interested in the idea of cohousing. Scott Donovan opened with a short presentation giving an overview of the concept, then Kris Robinson Staveley talked about some of what she has learned by visiting almost a dozen cohousing communities in the US and Canada, and Elaine Rutherford described what it was like to live in the Windsong cohousing community in BC for 15 years.
Finally, Al Slavin spoke about some of the things that got him thinking about cohousing as a potential future, and then the group shared some snacks and refreshments. You can see the presentations by Al, Scott and Kris embedded on this page and you can see some photos of the event here.
An article about our group was also published in Electric City magazine on June 5th, entitled “Kawartha Cohousing Wants to Build Peterborough’s First Cohousing Community.” Here’s an excerpt:
“Organizing around the name Kawartha Cohousing, the group is hoping to design and build a living facility that will be owned and managed cooperatively, though it will include private rooms in order to balance residents’ needs for privacy as well as community. If the group is successful, it will be the first housing development of its kind in the city, and one of only a handful in Ontario.
The team has formed working groups to explore issues like bylaws, finances, development regulations, and the like. They intend to make decisions cooperatively as they develop their plans, and they’re excited to be envisioning and designing their building from scratch. “Most successful cohousing is community first, and then building second,” Al Slavin says.”