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Parksville housing project said to be a townhouse strata with 'spirit'

The Vancouver-based company has a letter of intent to build on 1.6 acres on the corner of Jensen Avenue and McCarter Street

Some locals are looking for a more European sense of community living, according to the response to a proposed cohousing project.

"Over a dozen households have signed up for the next stage of the cohousing planning process," Gary Morrison, president and founder of LiveWell Cohousing Developments, said after the Sept. 22 Parksville launch.

The roughly 60 people who attended the information meeting, "were mainly Baby Boomers and seniors, and with such strong support it seems clear the Parksville Cohousing project will be designed to focus on the needs of people thinking and planning for retirement," he said.

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

It is meant as an affordable way to combine the benefits of privately owned homes with extensive "club house" and shared amenity areas and the resources of a community housing project.

The Vancouver-based company has a letter of intent to build on 1.6 acres on the corner of Jensen Ave. and McCarter St., part of the 6.5 acre vacant lot owned by MacLean Homes beside the Parksville Community and Conference Centre.

The next step is a "Getting It Built" workshop Nov. 2 and 3 hosted by leading cohousing proponent and architect Charles Durrett who was the featured speaker at the Sept. 22 meeting.

Morrison said the workshop will be a chance to "drill into the mechanics of development, consider it Development 101. It's helpful for anyone interested in building their own project — cohousing or otherwise."

He said LiveWell acts more like consultants, helping the owners develop the housing they want. The workshop will delve into the financial aspects as well as give people a chance to get to know prospective neighbours and explore common ground.

They are planning a number of events this month for people interested in the project including a tour of similar projects in Nanaimo (Oct. 12) and Courtney (Oct. 26) and informal community chats about cohousing. Check or for more information.