Monday, July 15, 2013

Community News


Eco Everything

Cohousing project compliments community 

Released by Michael Hale, YEV/Photo by Natalie Jones


n Friday, July 12 Yarrow Ecovillage held a groundbreaking ceremony for its next phase of housing.


The eighteen units to be added to the already thriving Groundswell Cohousing community, will complement the Ecovillage’s organic farm and businesses, such as the Yarrow Deli. The Ecovillage combines home, work and recreation in one place, with the intent of providing a more sustainable way of living.

“This project has generated great interest not only in City Hall but in the community at large.  It is a new idea for Chilliwack and like most innovative projects, we were challenged with many unforeseen twists and turns,” said Mayor Sharon Gaetz. “I’m very pleased with how it is turning out. Our City staff has worked closely with the Ecovillage’s project team to resolve any issues and move things forward. I offer my hearty congratulations to the Ecovillage for its success and thank the members of the team for their hard work in bringing this project to fruition.”


Councilor Jason Lum was present for the groundbreaking ceremony. Lum has been following the development of the Ecovillage closely over the past few years.

“I first became interested in the Ecovillage when I heard about their innovative use of technology,” said Lum. “I have a background developing control systems for wastewater treatment so my interest was peeked when I heard about their biological wastewater treatment system and constructed wetlands. That system is up and running now and is a huge innovation for Yarrow.”

There are now sixty-five residents of the Ecovillage, thirty of whom are children.

“The Ecovillage is designed to foster community,” said resident Natalie Jones, “and I think it succeeds beautifully. Cohousing provides a balance between community and privacy and it seems to me that we humans need both,” she added.

An example is community meals. While each family has its own private home with kitchen and dining area, they have the option of having community meals several nights a week. Members sign up for the meals and there are designated cooks. Photo

“If I sign up for community meals, I only have to cook every two or three weeks. That really suits my lifestyle. While I love to cook, I’m often too busy with my work and volunteer activities. So it is great to not always have to prepare an evening meal—plus I get to socialize with my neighbours,” said Jones.

The growing community has a mix of ages and backgrounds, including farmers, teachers, artists, professors, social service workers, carpenters and computer programmers. About 80 percent of the residents work on site. “While it is diverse, we all have the common goal of building a vibrant and sustainable community,” she said.

There are a few homes left in the thirty-three household Groundswell cohousing portion of the Ecovillage. Tours are available every second Saturday. Contact the folks at the Ecovillage via e-mail here for details and times.

For general information, visit


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