Gord Lovegrove, associate professor of engineering at UBC Okanagan and co-housing project leader, presents to a Kelowna audience during a co-housing public engagement session Wednesday at the Innovation Centre. - Carli Berry/Capital News

Pitching sustainability: co-housing project gathers significant interest in Kelowna

The auditorium seats in The Innovation Centre were nearly full during a co-housing forum

Picture purchasing land and building a community hub with 25 other families.

Kelowna residents were presented with the concept of co-housing during a public forum Wednesday. Co-housing is a sustainable housing model where families purchase and build complexes together and they share amenities as an alternative form of sustainable living.

UBCO engineering and marketing students were heavily involved with the project.

Mahlon Head, a fourth year business student specializing in marketing, said the students partnered with SMARTer Growth Partnership, which aims to facilitate the first co-housing complex in Kelowna. Engineering students also put together design concepts for the forum.

READ MORE: UBCO students create co-housing project in Kelowna

“Just with the way Kelowna is developing and growing right now, the idea of co-housing can definitely be successful here. It’s been successful in other parts of B.C. in the States and in Europe,” Head said.

Head said he would consider living in a co-housing unit.

The marketing students developed a plan to market to a targeted audience and facilitated media press releases to promote interest in the event.

“Our goal was a bit over 100 people, and people keep coming in and it’s looked like we’ve reached our goal and things are going well so far,” Head said.

Craig Hostland, project coordinator with SMARTer Growth Partnership, said the company is facilitating the housing model for Kelowna because it’s a good opportunity for the city to densify certain areas in a sustainable way.

READ MORE: UBCO civil engineer touts cohousing option

“The key element to me is that families get together and they decide instead of living in a variety of different locations in Kelowna, or even in side by side townhouses, that they want to live in a more socially focused environment,” he said.

With co-housing, you would have your own private space, but certain amenities would be shared in common areas, such as a communications room, a work shop or a communal kitchen, he said. The aim of the workshop is to show residents the idea and get them to take the intuitive to start a co-housing project.

Co-housing already exists in places like Kamloops, Nelson and Vancouver, he said.


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