Friday, Jan. 15, 2016: Learning to wait

If patience is a virtue, then my Vancouver Cohousing community of 45 adults and 16 children is approaching sainthood. The completion date for our 31-unit project has been continually delayed since September and we learned today that we’re pushing into late February instead of the end of this month. Since we broke ground in July 2014 in a tight construction market, it’s been challenging to get good crews for many of the trades.

As a director of our development company, this afternoon I joined two other directors in a conference call with our development manager. He told us issues with completing the siding and landscaping are the main reasons for the latest delay. We moved quickly to communicate by email and phone tree with our members. We’ll learn more at our monthly community meeting on Sunday.

As the email writer, I was hoping people wouldn’t shoot the messenger. So far, the response has been very understanding and typical of this amazing group of people. Since the very beginning in early 2012, we’ve made all of our decisions by 100 percent consensus, which means everyone agrees. We realize that in cohousing what is best for the community takes priority over personal concerns. Our process committee gracefully facilitates our meetings and has helped us navigate some very tough decisions, such as how to handle budget overruns.

After signing up as an associate member of Vancouver Cohousing in June 2012, I attended my first community meeting. Two of the members who stood up to speak that afternoon casually adopted the yoga tree pose – standing on one leg with the other foot pressed against the standing thigh. It takes balance, which for me was symbolic of the goal of a balance of privacy and community in my life. Later, I told members that “You had me at tree pose.”

I jumped right in, getting involved with the marketing and membership committees. I created posters for public meetings and other marketing materials, and came up with the idea for a successful Cohousing Fair that featured keynote speaker Charles Durrett from California, our original architect and the guru of cohousing in North America.

In the membership committee, I hosted many public information sessions at my home where a team of us made presentations to people interested in cohousing. Once any of them signed on as associate members, there was a three- to four-month process where they attended community meetings and social events, worked with a committee, had a financial interview and received an overview of our progress to date. At the end of that process, if they figured Vancouver Cohousing was for them, they asked for full membership. We asked the community for consensus to accept them, and they joined us.

This way we have become a self-selected group of like-minded individuals and families who work together beautifully and want to live a more collaborative and neighbourly lifestyle. We just have to wait a little longer to live together.


A new siding crew takes measurements Thursday at the front of the project where siding isn’t finished. The siding details are quite complicated and time-consuming, typical of many aspects of our project. 


Pouring cement Thursday for curbs at the front entrance, part of the “hard landscape” work still ongoing.


Still no plants in the courtyard planters on Wednesday, part of the “soft landscaping”. (Cam Dore photo)

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