Six of our members attended the Northeast Cohousing Summit in Amherst Massachusetts from September 21-23, 2018. They returned with lots of new ideas gathered from the conference sessions and cohousing community tours, and especially from the full and half day intensive workshops. They shared these insights at our first learning session, held on Sunday October 14th from 3:00-5:30pm at Activity Haven Senior Centre, 180 Barnardo Ave, Peterborough. You can read more detailed reports about the summit from the various participants and watch a video of our impressions of it on this page.
Members of our group held a series of “Cafe Conversations” about cohousing over the last few months — informal, small-group chats at the Silver Bean Cafe in Peterborough. We shared our thoughts on cohousing with lots of people who stopped by, and we hope to continue this series or something like it in the fall.
The summer social on August 11th at Kris and Marc’s place was a wonderful opportunity to get to know each other outside of meetings. We strolled the land, circled the table for a great meal, and circled chairs by the pond for lots of good conversation. Then we gathered in the porch, where the guitar, harmonica and drums came out, and music filled the air.
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.
A reporter from the Peterborough Examiner was at the open house and wrote a short piece, and Al Slavin was also interviewed on the local CHEX TV station about our plans (video below). A local candidate for Peterborough city council said at the Mount event that he was supportive of the Kawartha Commons idea, and said he planned to promote it during his campaign as a potential solution to the city’s issues with providing more affordable housing, especially for seniors.
Peterborough This Week wrote about us and about cohousing in general recently (June 11) in an article entitled “Peterborough group seeking to make housing communal and neighbourly again.” Here’s an excerpt:
Imagine talking to your neighbours, borrowing some kitchen supplies before next week’s bake sale or sitting down and having a meal with your community. For some, that’s a concept in the distant past that a group in Peterborough is hoping to resurrect. On June 19, architect Scott Donovan is hosting a presentation alongside those with experience in the co-housing model. Donovan describes co-housing as a “village-like setting” that’s “more social than a row of houses down a street.”
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.”