We have a Site for our Cohousing Project!


The cohousing group I've been a part of since November, 2009 is now moving at cruising speed. We celebrated 1 year as Dragonfly Cohousing last weekend. We hired a project manager, Chris ScottHanson in May of this year and ever since we have been passing milestones: incorporation and shareholders agreement, preliminary budgets, financial feasibility, site search and purchase negotiation, and currently design programming.

This is our land. We are putting in our first non-refundable deposit in the coming weeks. We already have a refundable deposit in indicating our intention to purchase and giving us an opportunity for due diligence.

It is located in the southeast corner of the northeast community of Crescent Heights (north of Memorial Drive, west of Edmonton Trail). It has tremendous access to the lovely Rotary Park, the Bow River, great shops and restaurants in Bridgeland, a 2 minute bus ride downtown (or as I like to think of it - where movie theatres, the CPO, and playhouses are), the Calgary Zoo, 10 minute drive to church (as opposed to the 20 minutes now), and Highways 1 and 2.

One of the remarkable features of this site, besides the great location, is that it forms part of a hillside, quite a steep hillside in fact. This landscape provides some unique challenges and opportunities. The biggest challenge is accessibility, but our potential architects assure us that there are manageable ways to address mobility issues. Another challenge will be the winter roads on 1 Ave... The opportunities include great vistas for many of the units, a lot of southern and eastern exposure, and not as much excavation for the underground parking.

The selection process was truly amazing. According to all of the information we had available, our group would be facing a major split when it came to site selection. We anticipated losing up to 25% of our membership because of the varied preferences in location and site qualities. We spent a fair bit of time prior to searching for a site discussing how to mitigate the fallout of such a split and were therefore going into the process of narrowing the search from 9 sites to 1. A difficult process for a group that bases all decisions on 100% consensus.

At one of our September 25 general meeting, we had already narrowed our focus to two sites and we had architectural presentations on both. We discussed the pros and cons of both sites including cost, opportunity, feasibility, etc. at great length ultimately narrowing it down to this site in Crescent Heights. All of us endorsed the decision to pursue the purchase of this land and we lost no members in the process: A joyous victory for our determined small and growing group.

Currently we have 12 of the 36 units sold with another 8 associate members, some of whom are waiting for the moratorium on sales to be lifted (mid-November) in order to put in their money.

Very exciting and time consuming times are ahead. Our common house design workshop is a full weekend with cohousing experts Kraus Fitch Architecture from Massachusetts guiding us through the process in a couple weeks. Then another day of design programming our personal units in December. My role on the Membership and Marketing Team is to continue to drum up interest in cohousing and facilitate information sessions where potential members can come and learn of our project.

We plan to break ground next fall and move in some time in 2013!

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