When Loriane Frewing remembers her childhood growing up in Langley, she thinks about the safety and comfort of knowing all her neighbours, and living in a real community. It’s a feeling she and her husband wanted to get back to, so a few years ago they became members of Compass Cohousing, a group of like-minded individuals planning to develop a tight-knit community in Langley.
The community is still a year or two from being a brick-and-mortar place, but Loriane has already felt the benefit of knowing her future neighbours.
“My husband passed away in June. When he became ill, the current members of Compass Cohousing helped me out tremendously. They filled my garden boxes with soil, they cleared a tree that had fallen, they took my car in for servicing, they brought me meals and also came and visited Grant in hospice,” she says. “They were a very real support group for me through it all. The community character of cohousing shone bright.”
Compass Cohousing will have 40 fully contained private residences, from bachelor condos to four-bedroom townhomes, plus a Common House for the community to gather and share skills. Alongside a kitchen, children’s play area, music room, lounge, guest suites and other amenities will be Grant’s Place, a workshop equipped with many of Loriane’s late-husband’s tools.
“He had a big shop full of equipment, and our three children don’t have space for it all,” Loriane explains. “He was loved by so many. It was a community decision to name the workshop after him.”
What is cohousing?
Like many in Langley, Loriane first heard about this style of living through Windsong — a cohousing development established in north Langley in 1996. But she had some misconceptions about how it worked.
“I thought it was a commune with a bunch of hippies!” she laughs. Now she describes cohousing as a group of people who’ve decided to live in community. “I will know who’s around me, and they will know me. We’ll look out for each other, and we’ll celebrate together too.”
Unlike co-op housing, each member owns their home as part of a strata. Just like any traditional condo project, they can qualify for a conventional mortgage, build up equity over time and can sell when they choose. And unlike a seniors residence, Compass is open to all ages. Even now, the youngest is just over a year old; the most senior is in their 80s.
“We’ll all bring our different talents — I could lead a children’s craft workshop, and others are going to give music lessons.”
About half of the 40 homes are already spoken-for, but there’s still space for new members.
“It’s open to any and all. You just need to be willing — and want — to live in community.”