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Push for Okanagan’s first cohousing development is on

Click to play video: 'A living concept that has multiple families living under one roof is being explored in the Okanagan' A living concept that has multiple families living under one roof is being explored in the Okanagan
A living concept that has multiple families living under one roof is being explored in the Okanagan – Mar 4, 2019

A living concept that started in Denmark in the 1960s is being pushed in the Okanagan.

Called cohousing, the idea has multiple families and individuals living under one roof.

Cohousing usually involves designing and constructing a large building.

Under the model, each family owns their own unit but shares many amenities such as kitchens, workshops and gardens.

There are a number of cohousing developments across Canada including more than 10 in B.C. but none in the Okanagan.

However, there’s now a push to get the valley’s first cohousing project off the ground in Kelowna.

“You either have a townhouse, a condo, a single family residence or you are renting somewhere,” Craig Hostland said. “This gives you an opportunity of living in harmony with families that you have already chosen.”

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Hostland is with Smarter Growth Partnership. The organization, which promotes sustainable living, is trying to raise more awareness about the living concept so that interested families come forward.

“You need to have a small group of families that want to live together and then attract other families,” he said.

Hostland, like many others, believes cohousing is the solution to addressing things like rising prices and other housing issues.

“If the city goes in the same direction that it’s been going for last 20, 30 years, we are going to have more congestion, more urban sprawl and more green space taken away from us,” he said.

The idea will be discussed at an upcoming public information session.

Smarter Growth has partnered with business students at UBC-Okanagan to organize the event.

Mahlon Head is one of the students promoting the event. He said he sees many benefits of this type of living including the social impact.

“You’re going to have different community members of all ages and demographics in general and the fact they can come together and mesh and bring their strengths and different ideas together to work and live in a community where they have full control, I think that is the best,” he said.

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The information session will take place on Wednesday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Kelowna Innovation Centre. The event is free.

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