Cohousing plan morphs in Qualicum Beach

Proponents say new plan won’t be submitted until labour dispute has been settled

The Aldermuir Cohousing project in Qualicum Beach may go ahead after all, minus the cohousing.

After town council refused a rezoning application to allow Livewell Cohousing to build both market housing and cohousing on a 20 acre property at Laburnum and Claymore roads, due to setback restrictions, president Gary Morrison said they will try again.

“The plan basically picks up the sustainable attributes planned for the cohousing community and layers these specifications onto the market housing homes we originally planned for the northeast corner of the property.”

He described the new proposal as “A highly sustainable ‘deep green’ community of +/-28 homes.”

“We’re hoping to be the most environmentally sustainable project in the mid-Island,” Morrison said.

“This would include high Ener-Guide ratings, plus one-two ‘demonstration homes’ that could include passive house style design for sustainability. This would be highly innovative — and allows me to re-energize my team after the disappointment of our last rezoning application.”

He said the project will dedicate wetland to the town, which is the best way to protect an area that “several developers are now interested in.”

Meanwhile, a separate Aldermuir Cohousing group has decided they cannot make their proposal work on the developable area left on the original site after wetland buffer requirements were upheld by council.

“So we are now looking for a new site for the Aldermuir Cohousing community — possibly something in the village area,” Morrison said, “but we will also be looking outside Qualicum.”

Council, which voted 4-1 against the rezoning, did express support for the cohousing idea in general, saying it was just the wrong location, too close to sensitive wetland.

Morrison has described cohousing as “physically and legally the same as a townhouse strata project, socially it is a more community-oriented spirit like cooperative housing.”

He added that while they are optimistic about the new proposal, which fits easily within the parameters council set during the last attempt, they will not submit their application until the labour dispute has been resolved in Qualicum Beach.