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Twelve people, one kitchen: That's co-operative

The site of the future RareBirds Housing Co-operative. City council will be given the chance to approve the necessary zoning amendment following a public hearing on Tuesday.
February 28, 2013 - 3:30 PM

HOUSING SOCIETY MOVING INTO BATTLE STREET: WHAT DO YOU THINK?

By Jennifer Stahn

Kamloops residents will get a chance to offer an opinion on the plans RareBirds Housing Co-operative has for its property on Battle Street West at a public hearing Tuesday evening.

The $1.2 million modern two-storey building is set to house up to 12 people; singles or couples would each get one “sleeping unit” featuring an en-suite bathroom and sitting area. The rest of the house – kitchen, living room, exercise room, bathroom, laundry, and more - would be shared as common space. The housing co-operative is seen as a way to reduce costs and energy while improving sustainability, in addition to providing an “intentional community” where members live co-dependently.

In order for the project to move forward, city council needs to be willing to rezone the site – located at the west end of Battle Street backing on to Guerin Creek – to allow up to 12 people to occupy what would normally be considered a single family dwelling.

RareBirds began unofficially two years ago when a small group of friends wanted to explore ideas for living more sustainable lifestyles and in January 2012 the group was registered with the B.C. Corporate Registry as an equity housing co-operative. Several months later they purchased the property at 772 Battle Street West. Currently three couples and two singles form the co-operative and it's looking for one more couple.

The zoning for the property would forbid operation as a rental, perhaps alleviating concerns by Coun. Pat Wallace at a meeting earlier this month. A member may sell their share under the regulations set out by the Co-operative Act of B.C.

Coun. Nancy Bepple wondered whether the rezoning could allow for more than one kitchen but a second kitchen would require a development variance permit.

Mayor Peter Milobar sidetracked Coun. Donovan Cavers' concerns that seven parking stalls may not be enough, saying you would “hope if you're sharing a kitchen you can figure out parking.”

Coun. Marg Spina applauded the RareBirds efforts, saying “it's a really innovative way to provide affordable housing (and) good community support.” She said she looked forward to having the project sent to public hearing, “so that people can comment on this new trend.”

The zoning amendment public hearing is set for City Hall Tuesday, March 4 at 7 p.m.

To contact the reporter for this story, email jstahn@infotelnews.ca or call (250) 819-3723.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013
InfoTel News Ltd

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