Vision & Values

Mission & Vision

Prairie Spruce Commons is a cohousing community committed to building an apartment-style condominium intentionally designed to use resources wisely and to encourage cooperation as well as friendly interaction among residents and neighbours, individuals and families. This inclusive, safe and authentic community is one that respects, shares & cares.

How Cohousing Works

Cohousing communities are typically designed, managed and maintained by its residents using consensus-based decision-making.

Cohousing communities are places where people work together to enrich their lives and improve their environment. Bringing people close together can make it easier to share resources and be a place where individual skills are shared and valued. The cohousing model recognizes that privacy in your own home can help support community life.

Participation Is Key

Membership in Prairie Spruce Commons is by household and each household is expected to be involved in the ongoing life of the community. Each household is asked to attend general meetings and contribute to committee work. Other involvement can take on many forms, allowing for individual talents and preferences to shine.

Consensus Decision-Making

Consensus is different from most other kinds of decision-making because it encourages group members to work together and collaboratively develop solutions to common questions. Since the goal is group unity and the common good, rather than winning a majority of votes, every member is important. The community as a result tries to listen to and respond to each person’s needs and opinions.

As a community, we recognize that the consensus process requires commitment and patience, but we believe that the resulting decisions are better, more effective and, in the long term more time efficient. A true consensus decision reflects the concerns and creativity of all the members of the group and the process of uniting these generates the solution that best responds to the needs of that group.

One of the reasons that Cohousing is important to me is because it offers compelling possibilities for living in ways that day-by-day respect Earth and one another. – Ruth Blaser

Our Neighbourhood

Badham Boulevard, Regina, Saskatchewan

Prairie Spruce Commons offers easy access to great food, green spaces, cultural, retail and recreational offerings, educational centres and places of employment. It’s one of the reasons we’re most excited about our new neighbourhood.

Our Neighbourhood Walk Score

Prairie Spruce Commons’ neighborhood has a Walk Score of 75,  Very Walkable, is reflective of the wonderful neighbourhood we are building in. Most errands can be done on foot. As the area sees further development, the Walk Score will only improve, becoming a Walker’s Paradise.

For more information on Walk Scores.

Within Our Neighbourhood

Map of Prairie Spruce Commons Neighborhood
Prairie Spruce Commons Neighborhood

Imagine yourself at the centre of ever-widening concentric circles.

First Circle,  1/2 kilometer

  • Doctors, physiotherapists, dentists and a local pharmacy
  • Restaurants, pubs and coffee shops
  • Mike’s independent Grocery
  • Tartan curling club
  • Canadian Blood Services
  • Canadian Broadcasting Centre
  • Canadian Girl Guides
  • Canadian National Institute for the Blind
  • Regina Open Door Society
  • Regina Transit bus stops
  • Two high schools: Miller Comprehensive and Balfour Collegiate
  • University of Regina, College Avenue Campus
  • Wascana Centre, one of the largest urban parks in North America covering a total area of 2,300 acres. Includes Wascana Lake, Wascana Park with a playground, walk/wheeling and ski trails, and Wascana Pool

Second Circle, 1-2 kilometers

  • Arcola Elementary School
  • Conexus Centre for the Arts
  • Cornwall Centre Mall
  • Davin Elementary School
  • Downtown Regina
  • Globe Theatre
  • Kramer IMAX Theatre
  • Regina Central Library
  • Regina City Hall
  • Regina General Hospital
  • Royal Saskatchewan Museum
  • Saskatchewan Science Centre
  • St. Agustine Elementary School

Third circle: 3-5 kilometers

  • Douglas Park Elementary School
  • First Nations University of Canada
  • MacKenzie Art Gallery
  • Regina Airport
  • Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology
  • Several preschools and day care centres
  • St. Andrew Elementary school (French Immersion), University of Regina

What an amazing neighbourhood to live in!

Our Story

 

Prairie Spruce Summer BBQ
Summer BBQ

Seeking Creative Housing Options

Our story begins in the spring of 2011 when a group of people who recognized the value of community in their own lives and its benefits to the surrounding neighbourhood started looking at creative options for housing in Regina. On the suggestion of a local community organization, they met to discuss the cohousing concept and learned about a cohousing project that was being developed in Saskatoon. Two members of Wolf Willow Cohousing in Saskatoon were invited to speak at a later meeting in Regina. Following this meeting, discussions about cohousing began. Monthly meetings were held, community representatives were consulted, a mission statement was drafted, and information about the project was circulated through the wider community.

On December 12, 2011, Sheila Coles interviewed two members on CBC’s The Morning Edition. Many people who heard the interview attended the regular meeting that took place that evening. Enthusiasm grew, and the word spread.

The January 2012 meeting was pivotal. Twenty-seven people attended, several of whom now form the core of the present group. Plans were made to invite a cohousing consultant to Regina. The group also agreed to implement a social element in the form of potluck suppers before general meetings.

Prairie Spruce: What’s in a Name?

As part of our original visioning exercise, we drew pictures of people, sketched out homes and a spruce tree. Later, the group looked back on these pictures for inspiration for a name. The spruce tree “struck a chord” with the group. Spruce trees stay green and look alive year round. Also “green” can be associated with the sustainable green building aspect. Prairie seemed appropriate to help identify the location of the cohousing development. Commons refers to the cultural and natural resources accessible to all members of a society, including natural materials such as air, water, and a habitable earth. Thus Prairie Spruce Commons. Our story had a name.

Getting it Built

In May 2012, a weekend “Getting Your Community Built” workshop was held. Regular monthly potlucks and meetings continued through the next year. Committees were formed to build community, deal with legal and financial issues, search for land, and explore design ideas. By the end of the year, our name was registered and the incorporation process was underway.

Project managers Chris ScottHanson (author of The Cohousing Handbook) and Jasen Robillard of Connexus Cohousing Collaborative were contracted in June 2013 and given the task of finding land. We are currently working with Regina architects Pattison MGM and developer Fiorante Homes and Commercial Ltd.

A sense of rapport, spirit and hope continues to grow among project members in 2016 as we share meals and collaborate on final design details.

Cohousing is for me because I have always wanted to live in intentional community living lightly on the earth.      – Faye Huggins

What is Cohousing?

Prairie Spruce members and potential members in a community design meeting with an architect.
Prairie Spruce members and potential members in a community design meeting with an architect.

Cohousing is a type of collaborative housing in which residents actively participate in the design and operation of their own neighbourhood. Residents are consciously committed to living as a community. The physical design encourages both social contact and individual space. Private homes contain all the features of conventional homes but residents also share the extensive common facilities such as an outside barbeque area, a playground and a common house.

How To Know if Cohousing Is For You

  • You desire a more meaningful connection with your neighbors
  • You enjoy sharing and helping others
  • You want to live lightly on the earth
  • You want to live abundantly through sharing stuff and skills
  • You want to age in place
  • You want to raise your kids in an urban village
  • You want to live amongst people from all walks of life
  • You celebrate the diversity of people and cultures in your city

* adapted from www.vancouvercohousing.com

Get in touch to find out more about Regina’s First Cohousing Community

How to Get Involved

Getting to Know You

We hope cohousing and particularly Prairie Spruce Commons is resonating with you.

At our very first design workshop with Prairie Spruce Commons we knew there was a resonance for us. Something with resonance has a deep tone and/or a powerful lasting effect. At that first design workshop we were putting check marks in many of our boxes: underground parking, garden, accessible space designed for our particular needs, design for natural light in every unit, close to Wascana Park, the University of Regina, and downtown.Then there were the things we hoped for but didn’t imagine possible: green building design, a community of people committed to a lighter footprint.Add to that the bonuses we hadn’t even thought about: multi-generational community, a common kitchen and gathering space that could accommodate our large extend family and community of friends, the possibility of a shared workshop (Brenda loves other people’s power tools), a guest room that could be reserved by any of the members of PSC. We were doing the ‘happy bee dance’ vibrating with the resonance between our lives, our dreams, and PSC.  … Brenda, Ruth, and Rebekah

How to Get Involved

  1. Be curious about cohousing and our community
  2. E-mail us – PrairieSpruceCommons@gmail.com
  3. Be a part of Prairie Spruce Commons, Regina’s first cohousing community.

One aspect about cohousing that really excites me is the sharing of skills and abilities among community members.  … Dave

Find out more by exploring the other pages on the site and contacting us to learn the date of our next orientation, potluck, or site tour.

FAQ— Frequently Asked Questions

The letter QThe frequently asked questions are frequent—obviously. They are understandable and expected. Cohousing is not different from many communities and neighborhoods you have lived in. Rather than developing over decades, in cohousing a group forms with the intention of creating a community.

What is Cohousing?

Cohousing is a process by which a group of people work together to create and maintain their own intentionally-designed neighbourhood.

By collaborating with an architect and project facilitators, Prairie Spruce Commons is participating in the planning and design of their own housing development. Along the way, our group has formed bonds that will become the basis for ongoing community growth and development.

How did cohousing get started?

In the late 1960′s a group of Danish families decided to create their own resident-developed neighbourhoods as an alternative to traditional housing models. They wanted a community where they would know their neighbours and that would be safer because people would watch out for each other and strangers would easily be noticed. They wanted to reduce the stress of their daily lives by easing day-to-day burdens such as child care and cooking. They wanted to reduce their impact on the land and create communities that were environmentally sensitive and sustainable. Today, 10% of all new housing constructed in Denmark use this model.

It was introduced to North America in 1988 by Kathryn McCamant and Charles Durrett. While studying at the University of Copenhagen they learned of bofaellesskaber (which translated means a living community). They renamed it cohousing and the phrase is now listed in the Oxford English dictionary. Since that time, over 100 cohousing communities have been completed in North America including many in Canada.

What is the difference between a co-operative, a commune, and cohousing?

In a co-operative, the development is owned by the group and the units are rented. In a commune, all property and personal resources are shared with the community. In cohousing, people own their homes as well as a share of the common space. People in cohousing often choose to share resources to live more affordably, for example, sharing a snow blower or lawn mower.

What kinds of people live in cohousing?

Cohousing is for people who want to participate in their community.

Prairie Spruce Commons is building a community which is diverse in age, background and family type. The emphasis is on quality of life for all community members. There is no social agenda beyond creating a caring neighbourhood where all residents feel accepted and comfortable.

Generally, cohousing members have a desire to have a say in what their neighbourhood will be and a belief that having more connections with their neighbours will enhance their quality of life.

What does cohousing living entail?

Members own their own homes and are free to take part in as many or as few community social gatherings as they choose.

As a homeowner, members are expected to share decision-making, attend meetings, and contribute to the administration, maintenance and upkeep of the buildings and grounds (thereby keeping their monthly fees as low as possible).

Some people describe the cohousing community as an intentional neighbourhood. The goal of cohousing members is simply the desire to have a more defined sense of community with their neighbours, some of whom might be quite different from themselves.
Most people who are attracted to cohousing are actively seeking diversity in their community. They want to live with others who will expand their horizons.

Individual Homes

Will I own my own home?

Yes. Each unit will have a condominium title ownership under which each household owns its own home and a share of common facilities.

Can I bring my pet?

Yes–probably. Prairie Spruce Commons will welcome most pets. Please ask further about the pet policy.

Will I have privacy?

Yes. In cohousing, members participate in a process to create a community that reflects their values. Most people in our culture value privacy so the community will be designed to provide a balance of privacy and community.

The building design will afford all the personal space and individual privacy a person desires.

If I live in cohousing, will I have my own kitchen?

Yes. This is a frequently asked question.

In addition to a kitchen in each unit, every cohousing community does have a common kitchen/dining area. The community will make a decision on how often community meals are available. Participation in the eating of these meals is voluntary, but everyone takes turns in making the meals.

A report of the Toronto-based Creative Communities and Collaborative Housing Society entitled Planning Cohousing (Ottawa: Energy Pathways, 1997) states that “[t]he idea of shared kitchen and dining facilities does not stem from a notion that meals should be communal but a recognition that sometimes communal meals are desirable and benefit everyone.”

What will be expected of me after the development is completed?

There will be monthly maintenance fees that each household will pay.

There will continue to be periodic meetings to make decisions about the operation of the community.

Members will be expected to contribute to the administration, maintenance, and upkeep of the building and grounds (to keep monthly fees as low as possible.)

Common Facilities

What is a common house?

All residences are completely self-contained with full kitchens but also share extensive common facilities that are designed for daily use. The common house includes such things as a large kitchen and dining room for meals and social gatherings, guest rooms, children’s play area, laundry facilities (supplementary to optional in-home laundry) and workshop.

Do members share meals together?

The common facilities, and particularly shared meals, are an important aspect of community life for both social and practical reasons. However, shared activities are always optional. People always have the option of cooking and eating in their own homes. Typically about 60% of the residents participate in shared meals on a regular basis.

In existing communities, shared meals can be available from a few nights a month to as many as seven nights per week.

The meals are generally prepared by 2 – 4 people for however many diners sign up in advance for that particular meal. As noted above, eating community meals is always voluntary. Typically each adult is expected to be involved in meal prep and/or clean-up once every 4 – 5 weeks. Members only pay for the meals they eat.

What about safety and security?

Because cohousing members know all their neighbours, they have an excellent neighbourhood watch system built into their communities. Someone who is not a member of the community is very easily recognized. Members of the community also watch out for the property of an absent resident.

How many homes will there be in the project?

Prairie Spruce Commons will have 21 privately owned units. This is within the optimal range for cohousing communities, which has been pegged at 15 to 36 households.

How are decisions made?

Decision-making is shared by all members. Decisions are made using the consensus model. This puts everyone on an equal footing, avoids power struggles, encourages everyone to participate by communicating openly and provides an opportunity for people to see a variety of points of view.

Financial Matters

What will it cost?

Unit prices are a reflection of total costs incurred in building Prairie Spruce Commons on Badham Boulevard.

Prairie Spruce Commons is purchasing the land and building from Fiorante Homes & Commercial. We have designed the building and the developer has figured out the cost of getting it built. We have summed these two costs and divided the total cost into the number of units. Note, that there is no profit added to the costs before determining unit prices; the prices are set in order to fully cover the building of each unit.

Our current prices are listed here. For more information on cohousing unit pricing & value, please read this blog post.

Are there condo fees and how are they set?

Condo fees are set by the cohousing group with representatives from each condo being on the board making the decisions. The fees will vary according to the size of the unit. A professional with a background in building fee assessment often assists the group through this process.

What if I have to or want to move out of the community and must sell my unit?

When it comes to resales, experience has shown that homes in cohousing hold their value

Find Out More

Where Can I Learn More About Cohousing?

Click on the links below to learn more about cohousing

Canadian Cohousing Network
US Cohousing Association