FAQ

How does cohousing differ from a co-op?

Pacific Gardens is a strata (the B.C. name for condominium). The apartments in our complex are privately owned. Since the owners have title to their strata lots, they are eligible for mortgages.

There are two features that define a cohousing community: a common house, in which many community activities take place; and a decision making structure that is based on consensus.

The “co” in cohousing stands for “collaborative.” It describes an interdependent relationship in which each household is autonomous, but residents choose to participate in many activities together.

In contrast, living in a housing cooperative is more like renting. The building is owned by the cooperative. Members own shares, which allow them to occupy their units. Financial institutions do not give mortgages to cooperatives, since shareholders do not own their units.

A few of our residents have lived in both co-op housing and cohousing. They report that, in practical terms, there are many similarities to daily life in the two models.

The difference lies in the inspiration for the creation of the community.

A cohousing development is designed to foster relationships amongst its residents. It is not intended to be affordable housing.

Is this seniors housing or are children allowed?

Pacific Gardens Cohousing Community is a diverse multi-generational community welcoming all age groups and family sizes. We feel that when three or more generations live together in the same complex, it provides an opportunity for the respect and inclusion of our elders, minimizes the alienation of any age group, and strengthens our community. For those of us who live here, the variety of family configurations is one of the delights of Pacific Gardens!

Is this suitable for families?

Absolutely! Pacific Gardens Cohousing Community is multigenerational and family-friendly. We Pacific Gardeners can attest to how enriching it is to have neighbours from toddlers to folks in their eighties.

Are there opportunities for me to operate a home-based business?

Yes. These days many people work from home, and that includes some of us Pacific Gardeners. Our Strata Council has adopted consensual guidelines regarding home-based businesses.

I’d love to be a part of Pacific Gardens Cohousing but don’t know how I can afford it.

If you’re concerned about costs, reach out and talk to us. Many of our owners have solved their financing issues and may be able to offer ideas and suggestions that would work for you too. Co-ownership is one approach some owners have used. If you’d like to explore that option, please contact us.

Will my unit have a kitchen?

Yes. All units are self-contained. All have fully functioning kitchens and laundry hookups. We regularly have common meals, and most residents participate. Indeed, for many of us, sharing meals in our dining hall is one of the most enjoyable aspects of the cohousing lifestyle. But participation in common meals is entirely optional.

Can I have pets?

Yes. We have pets amongst the occupants of Pacific Gardens. However, each unit is limited to one dog and one cat and our bylaws include some stipulations about spaying/neutering, vaccinations, etc. In addition, all pets must be leashed while they are on the common property.

Community sounds great, but at times I need my privacy. How does that work?

Many of us who live at Pacific Gardens appreciate community but also value our privacy. Units are private, and participation in community events is welcomed but not mandatory. You will find that there is a mixture of both introverts and extroverts living at Pacific Gardens.

Will I be able to garden?

Absolutely!

The high regard that many of our residents have for gardening is reflected in our very name — Pacific Gardens. We have several plots available for individual residents, as well as a communal one. As our property previously was a heritage apple orchard, we are fortunate to have some established fruit trees. Our compost bins accumulate naturally nutrient-rich soil for our green-thumbers. We grow some of our own food and pick the abundant raspberries and blackberries on our property during the summer.

When was Pacific Gardens completed?

September 4, 2009 was a red letter day for us. That was the date on which we received our occupancy permit.

How can I learn more about cohousing?

Browse articles on cohousing.ca