>> Mollie Kaye

Victoria’s Fernwood Urban Village Cohousing got the green-light from City Council and plans to break ground early next year, says Bill McKechnie, developer and co-founder of the cohousing project. “This is great news for anyone who is ready to enjoy the benefits of living a more community-centred life.”

Social research confirms that interdependence and sharing with others is an essential part of well-being, and many are starting to realize that the American dream is not bringing them what they actually need to thrive. Traditional single-family homes and condominiums offer little in the way of easy social interaction, shared meals, or shared tools and resources. That’s where cohousing comes in, and Fernwood Urban Village is being specifically designed to encourage social interaction with a close-knit group of neighbours. Plan drawings for the site can be viewed at fernwoodurbanvillage.ca.

“It takes a herculean effort to find community these days, to create it by your own will,” says Mollie Kaye, who, with her husband Robert, is raising four children in a blended family. “After I divorced, and was on my own with two young kids in a large, lovely house, I became depressed and anxious,” she says. “I knew it was because I felt so isolated. Material comforts cannot serve as a substitute for the presence and support of other people, and a warm connection with them.”

Kaye and her family plan to live in the cohousing project in Fernwood when it is built. Allan and Amrita Bruce, empty-nesters from Salt Spring Island, also plan to be residents. “I want to feel positive not only physically, mentally, and emotionally… I want to continue to grow in my ability to have sustainable relationships.” Allan concurs. “It will enrich our lives, to spend less time taking care of physical things, and have more time interacting with people. We don’t need a lot of possessions. We see moving here as a process of letting go, and the letting go is enriching and enlightening.”

The project now must obtain a building permit, and construction is planned to begin in early 2015. If you would like to apply to become a resident at Fernwood Urban Village Cohousing, go to their website at www.fernwoodvillage.ca.