Welcome to Our Community

February 19th, 2014 by admin Categories: Our Community No Responses
Welcome to Our Community

Garden Celebration

Creekside Commons Cohousing is an inclusive and sharing community of thirty six families in Courtenay BC making conscious choices about how to live with each other in an ecologically and socially responsible manner. Creekside people range in age from young children to elders.  There are singles, couples, empty nesters and families with infants, toddlers, grade school children or young adults.

Many Creekside people work full or part time at home or away, while some are students and more are recent or long-time retirees. We are intentionally inclusive and support a diverse range of family constellations.  All of us have a wide range of interests and commitments in the Comox Valley and in the world.

 

While some of us are long time residents of the Comox Valley, many arrived to become owners at Creekside Commons from other parts of British Columbia, Canada and the United States.  Some of us came to Creekside while it was developing because we were looking to create intentional community.  Others discovered Creekside while looking for a better way to live in our increasingly complex and impersonal world.

70th birthday party

 

We have a diverse and talented group of people sharing skills and passions within our community.  Our adult members are presently employed or have worked in many fields: healthcare, counseling and social work; education; journalism; engineering; the trades (forestry workers, carpenters, electricians, and mechanics).  Others of us have deep commitments to organic, sustainable gardening and permaculture.  We have arborists, landscapers, and environmental engineers. We live with professional musicians, graphic artists, potters, stained-glass artists, yoga teachers, writers, singers and songwriters.

Our children are both schooled and unschooled, some learning at home and others at the new Waldorf inspired Saltwater School nearby. We have several extended families living at Creekside –children, parents and grandparents, too- and lots of surrogate aunties and uncles enjoying time with the community’s children.

Pets are welcome and enjoyed – up to two cats or dogs to a household. Some of the six dogs like to take all sorts of people on walks with them and some of the eight cats are even trained to a leash and like to go visiting around the neighbourhood.

From time to time, Creekside people spend extended times away from home, making it possible to have renters and house sitters join the community. We’ve even found ways to welcome folks for a month or more who want to try living in our community before they make a decision to buy a home. While it’s hard to say goodbye to those who have come and gone, that’s part of living in community too and it also means we have friends who come ‘home’ to visit at Creekside from time to time.

 

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or comments.

How We Organize Ourselves

February 18th, 2014 by admin Categories: Governance, Our Community No Responses
How We Organize Ourselves

All owners are members of community council and can volunteer for any teams they are interested in participating in. Renters can participate in Council and teams but cannot block decisions.

Community Council meets monthly and all members are encouraged to attend whenever possible. Council makes decisions outside of the operating budgets of the teams that handle day to day operations. Council also explores issues of community development like vision, values, and governance.

Teams meet and do their work according to their own functions and report to council as needed.

Some guiding principles behind this model:

  • Visualize a circular structure of interdependent teams around our central Community Council
  • Keep on-going feedback in the structure so that a lengthy re-organizational review is not necessary in the future
  • Assume people want to volunteer
  • Make team mandates less overwhelming
  • Make room for those people who want to help but don’t do meetings
  • Minimize bureaucracy & unnecessary steps
  • Empower teams with clear mandates & the Decision-Making Criteria questions
  • Focus on optimizing communication
  • Encourage individual responsibility
  • Highlight the tasks that must be done and will cost us in higher strata fees if we don’t to do them ourselves – this way all of us, and any new residents are clear on how volunteerism is linked to our enjoyment of low strata fees

Community Council

  • This is the ultimate authority for everything that happens at Creekside
  • All owners and families are members of Community Council
  • Community Council will meet at least quarterly for business meetings
  • Community Council will meet as required for community discussions in order to air ideas fully before Community decisions are solicited & in order to maintain the emotional health of the Community as a whole
  • Community Council delegates the maintenance of Creekside Commons Cohousing to the teams

Team Principles

  • Membership is open to all Creekside residents at all times
  • One person will be the “contact” for each team. That person may self-select or be appointed by the team members. This person will have the signing authority for reimbursements & be the “contact” name on team documents
  • Teams will undertake tasks described in the team mandate – if unable to meet the mandate they will bring the issue to Community Council for review of the resources in the community or to review the team mandate
  • Clear mandates are recorded & posted
  • Teams are responsible to operate within the budget assigned to the team at the time of approval of the yearly budget
  • When deciding on a new action, teams will use the Decision Making Criteria questions to determine 1) if they have prepared the community sufficiently for such a decision (within team’s task mandate) or 2) if the item should be taken to a Community Council meeting
  • Teams will post agendas to inform the community of upcoming consideration of initiatives & proposed actions that impact common spaces
  • Teams will take (and post) minutes/reports of meetings at which decisions that affect the community are considered or made
  • Formal meetings are not a requirement for all teams, nor for any team member
  • Teams will report to Community via minutes or quarterly reports (hard copy posted & electronic copy distributed/posted on Google Drive)
  • The “contact person” signs reimbursement forms for team expenses before going to Finance & Administration
  • No team members are expected to act as surrogates or ombudspersons. If something appears to need attention, the individual in our community that notices it will bring the item to the team “contact” who will assist that individual to bring the concern forward in the appropriate forum (team/Council)
  • Ad Hoc Special Project teams will form by Community Council direction and dissolve upon completion of projects rather than being added to existing team
  • Have fun. Join the team that fits your passion! Or choose a couple of tasks & tell the “contact person you’re taking care of them!

Land and Facilities

January 9th, 2012 by CP-SMS Categories: Our Community No Responses
Land and Facilities

 

Common House Sunporch

 

Respect for the natural environment continues to be an important priority for all development decisions. The site includes sustainable storm water management elements and wetland development. We voluntarily contributed both labor and financial support to a creek enhancement project on the fish-bearing stream adjacent to the site.

 

The path through the center of the community leads from the common house perimeter to the compost site and then the adjacent four acre city park. A beautifully constructed wooden bridge was built in the park as part of our development, spanning the creek to access the neighboring Rosewall business park and Saltwater School.

 

 

 

The architecture of our duplexes and common house incorporates steep sloped roofs and wide overhangs, which are ideal for the West Coast climate. Generous covered porches in front and back enhance opportunities for multi-season connection with neighbors and the outdoors. Cement fiber hardiboard siding in a variety of natural colors complements the decorative cedar timber post and beam framing and cedar shake surfaces on the homes. Solid fir exterior doors and wood trim on windows further enhance the regional architecture.

 

Our duplexes are not symmetrical, but combinations of home sizes placed together with distinctive elements that define each side to create a variety of attractive combinations. The five home plans meet the diverse needs of our owners. All homes have two bedrooms on the main level; others have from one to three additional bedrooms on the upper floor.Although each family has their own private owned home, a unique aspect of cohousing is the sharing of common facilities and activities such as maintenance, meals and sometimes childcare. The common house is approximately 3500 square feet and includes a kitchen and dining area, two guest suites, a good-sized meeting/yoga room, an enclosed lounge, a children’s playroom and a common laundry used by about half the households.

Cars are parked on the periphery of the property near the common house so people can enjoy the natural beauty and quiet of the landscaping and children are safe to run and play. A ring road links the three neighborhoods and provides for emergency vehicle access.

 


Garden & Landscape

January 8th, 2012 by CP-SMS Categories: Our Community No Responses
Garden & Landscape

The landscaped areas near our homes, barren in 2007 when we first moved in, are now alive with small birds entertaining us all year at the feeders. The wetland ponds and wild zone grasses have matured and regularly host deer, ducks and ducklings, herons, eagles, a muskrat family and all manner of small creatures, not to mention a chorus of frogs on spring and summer evenings. Out beyond the garden is the compost site, very alive and beautiful in its way too.

Approximately 330 lbs (150 kg) of kitchen waste is processed every week. That’s a whopping 8.6 tons (7.8 tonnes) diverted from the waste stream & turned into “garden gold” in 2010!  The addresses ‘501’ and ‘502’ are the giant worm bins down past the ponds that hold a phenomenal amount of rich compost. Every Monday morning the compost team gathers with the worms, rain, shine…and sometimes even in the snow, to help them process material from the rolling green compost bins stationed around the property. These composters are young and old and there’s a lot of laughter accompanying the sounds of chopping and shoveling. The children from the nearby Saltwater School come with their kitchen scraps to learn about the cycle of growth. They have a lot of fun learning the secret compost handshake and doing the real work of making compost along with the adults…and the worms of course.

Garden Gate

In dealing with the land, the community has developed sustainable guidelines for both owners and contractors working on the decorative landscaping. We water trees only as needed through installed drip irrigation and by hand and shrubs around the common garden beds are watered as needed through spray irrigation. Only newly seeded areas of grass are watered as a conservation principle, other areas left to nature’s browning in late summer. Garden beds are naturalized, using native species of groundcover as much as possible for low maintenance and cost. We do remove invasive plants and weeds periodically, but favor perennial groundcovers to keep weeds in check. Where possible, we’re moving toward xeriscaping, using plants that need no extra water. We use three electric or three push mowers exclusively on our remaining lawns, keeping the grass between 3 and 5 inches long. We use only natural amendments on these decorative spaces, mostly limiting that to fruit trees.

Garden ShedExtensive common vegetable gardens, a raspberry patch and significant orchard areas were planted and fenced soon after we moved onto the land. Natural amendments such as seaweed, leaves and bark mulch are gathered from local beaches and parks or purchased, creating a deep, rich loam from the original clay soils. The organic garden area has both private raised beds and common garden plots planted and cared for by teams. Much of the garden now has micro-irrigation, simplifying the care needed in the growing season. Like the whole of the Creekside Commons land, the gardens are a place of beauty and peace, a place to gather and work with neighbors to the music of the birds and bees.

In 2008 a prefab cedar and glass greenhouse was attached to the workshop off the parking lot, giving space for starting seedlings and wintering over tender plantings. In 2009 a beautiful shed was constructed inside our garden, providing both storage and shade. In 2010, the Creekside garden became a host site for several beehives, which thrive on all the organic materials that flower around the property.

Compost Crew

Workshop

January 7th, 2012 by admin Categories: Our Community No Responses
Workshop

Our 600 square foot workshop building was put together near the commonhouse in the parking lot by community members, most of it over a fun filled barn-raising type weekend early in the construction phase of Creekside. The partially finished building was originally used as a construction office by our builder and after move-in, was finished inside to become a large woodworking room, a small paint finishing room and an arts and crafts room with separate entrance. Like the electrical buildings in each neighborhood, it has a green living roof and stays comfortable even on hot summer days.

Some of the extensive collection of woodworking machines and tools are community-owned while others are on loan from members. The shop is well equipped and has turned out all sorts of projects for the community and for homeowners, ranging from beautiful cedar gates for the garden areas, cabinets, shelves, wall beds and other furniture, even skateboards and surfboards.

Lots of small crafts and repairs emerge from this well-used place of refuge for those who find solace in the hum of machines and the smell of sawdust. The small craft and art room is full of color, a sanctuary for Creekside people seeking private space to create and play with paper, paint, glass and clay.

Creekside in the World

January 6th, 2012 by admin Categories: Our Community No Responses
Creekside in the World

Support for Blue Carbon Initiative: 

Paul Horgen at the Comox Valley Project Watershed Society is pictured receiving a cheque for $1,500 from Creekside Commons Community Services Society (represented by Pam Munroe, Tim Crossin and Don Munroe) for the Eel Grass project to sequester carbon in the Comox Estuary. This project while removing carbon from the atmosphere also restores our estuary and provides local employment. (Comox Valley Echo, Tuesday, January 10, 2012)

Creeksiders Help Make Saltwater Christmas Craft Fair a Success Story

They sang, they made crafts, cookies and jams, they helped at booths and craft activities. All this to support the new Waldorf inspired Saltwater School to raise funds while having a great time working and playing together. This is an annual event that promises to strengthen the links already forged between Creekside and Saltwater.

Creekside Carolers at Saltwater School

Nearby Saltwater School Open House a Resounding Success!

Courtenay Mayor Greg Phelps and Tin Town ‘mayor’ Tom Larson joined many Creeksiders, interested families and neighbours at the April 2011 open house for the new Saltwater School facility on Rosewall Crescent.

Mayor Phelps told Eric he wasn’t allowed to hold sharp objects J so Callie, as the oldest student, got to cut the ribbon at the ceremony. Children were treated to storytelling, a song circle and other activities while adults toured the building, examined renovation plans, enjoyed displays of student work and met teachers and board members.

Waldorf education embraces many of the same values as Creekside Commons.  The goal is to provide young people with the basis to develop into free, morally responsible and integrated individuals.

For more information, check out the school’s website.

Creekside Commons Vision

June 21st, 2011 by admin Categories: Vision No Responses
Creekside Commons Vision

 

We have co-created a sustainable neighbourhood of beauty and peace where we can grow as individuals while supporting each other, the land on which we live and the wider community. We foster a sense of belonging, meaning and purpose, sharing the fullness of ourselves and celebrating the gifts of life with integrity.

Our community intention and values:

  • Encouraging positive connections while honoring personal privacy
  • Taking responsibility individually and communally for our actions
  • Using the consensus process to enhance community decision-making
  • Using resources wisely to care for the earth
  • Serving others, the community and the world around us
  • Supporting personal growth and community evolution.
  • Celebrating life together

Our actions related to our intention and values will include:

Encouraging positive connections while honoring personal privacy by:

  • Designing community activities that cross age, gender, and ability
  • Supporting all family structures within the community
  • Providing for and respecting personal boundaries
  • Respecting individual and community property
  • Addressing interpersonal issues in a timely and respectful way
  • Following Creekside’s conflict resolution guidelines

Taking responsibility individually and communally for our actions by:

  • Challenging ourselves and the community to live our values
  • Using clear, open and honest communication
  • Talking to people rather than about them
  • Recognizing that what we perceive outside ourselves often mirrors what is inside ourselves
  • Committing to look at these elements within before expressing them as criticisms or irritations of others
  • Maintaining high standards of personal integrity, congruence of thought, word and action
  • Being willing to listen to constructive criticism and to offer constructive feed-back to others in a caring and appropriate fashion
  • Keeping agreements we have made
  • Speaking out about inappropriate behaviours
  • Giving appreciations and encouragement to each other

Using the consensus process to enhance community decision-making by:

  • Listening
  • Participating
  • Practicing flexibility and openness
  • Trusting the wisdom of the group
  • Stopping to use a centering practice when the process is stalling
  • Making every effort to resolve disputes
  • Respecting the care, integrity and wisdom that has been put into the decision making process

Using resources wisely to care for the earth by:

  • Recycling
  • Conserving energy
  • Using alternative modes of transportation when possible
  • Simplifying our lifestyles
  • Sharing tools and equipment
  • Growing plants and trees that are appropriate to the climate and local conditions

Serving others, the community and the world around us by:

  • Being generous with our time, skills and resources
  • Serving as a model of community for others
  • Providing and seeking educational opportunities
  • Buying locally when possible

Supporting personal growth and evolution of our community by:

  • Opening and closing meetings and gatherings with a centering practice
  • Being willing to teach and lead personal practices
  • Making the common space available for education and practice
  • Regularly renewing/updating our commitment to Creekside’s values
  • Focusing on positive thinking and action
  • Taking responsibility for the human, environmental and social effects of our thoughts and actions

Celebrating life together by:

  • Having fun, laughing
  • Eating and playing together
  • Creating rituals
  • Expressing gratitude
  • Nurturing our children and elders
  • Working together to build community projects

Location

June 21st, 2011 by admin Categories: Location No Responses
Location

Creekside Commons is located at: 2202 Lambert Drive, Courtenay, BC, Canada.

Find the Creekside Commons Cohousing community using the map below.


View Creekside Commons in the Comox Valley in a larger map