Last updated: May 6, 2015 (2 weeks ago)
Listing created on: September 29, 2012

Belterra Cohousing

(Bowen Island, British Columbia, Canada)

  • Status: Established
  • Formed: 2009  Established: 2015
  • Visitors accepted: Yes
  • Open to new Members: Yes
  • Website address: http://belterracohousing.ca
  • Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Belterra-Cohousing/144711765601307?ref=hl
  • Contact Name: info@belterracohousing.ca
  • Phone: 604-240-1036
  • Address:
    726 Belterra Road
    Bowen Island, British Columbia, V0N 1G2
    Canada
  • Visitor Process

    Visitors accepted: Yes
    Please call to arrange for a site tour, which are usually held on Sundays due to construction. At this time we have only one two-bedroom top floor unit remaining for sale. You can see the floor plans and location of this unit on the website.

  • Membership Process

    Open to new Members: Yes
    Attend an information meeting and become an Associate Member by paying a small fee ($100) which entitles the prospective member to participate fully in community meetings and gives access to the private members pages of the website where all minutes of meetings, policies and financial information can be accessed. If still interested, the prospective member would have a confidential meeting with Belterra’s project manager to discuss finances and determine eligibility for a mortgage. If the individual or family decides to proceed, they would prepare to make a down payment on the property. Depending on the buyer’s circumstances, the lender is requiring 15-25% down payment on the mortgage.

Mission Statement:

The Belterra Mission Statement: To create and sustain an evolving community that embraces respect for a diverse group of ecologically accountable and socially responsible people.

Community Description:

Belterra Cohousing is a multi-generational community with 30 condominium-styled homes in 5 residential buildings on a forested hillside overlooking beautiful Howe Sound and the Coast Mountains of British Columbia. We are located on Bowen Island, just 40 minutes from downtown Vancouver.

As of April 2015, we have only one remaining home for sale and residents have moved into buildings, one, two and five. The two other residential buildings will be completed in May and July, with the Common House, Wood Working Shop, and Greenhouse close behind.

Our vision of sustainable island living has captured the imagination of a diverse group of people, from 8-year old Josie (daughter of Carmen and John) to retired UBC professor Paul.

Belterra is a community within a community. Bowen Island has a small-town feel, an interesting history as a vacation spot popular in the early 1900s, as well as numerous cultural events, an active arts council, two commercial centres with cafes, grocery stores, restaurants, fine crafts shops, galleries, and fitness and wellness centres.

Although the island is relatively small, it boasts a 2,200 peak in the centre and numerous hiking trails, beaches, two marinas and a 9-hole golf course.

If you visit the Belterra Cohousing Website, you can learn more about the talents and interests of many of our members (“Who We Are”), and find out about attending a Belterra site walk (most Sundays). The website includes renderings of the buildings that grace our 10 acres with 30 energy-efficient homes http://www.belterracohousing.ca

At meetings, we find ourselves laughing a lot and enjoying the process of designing a community that includes community gardens, a 3,300 sf common house, greenhouse, workshop and children’s play areas. We also have fantastic potluck meals, with a range of diets represented. We look forward to expanding our cooking and meal sharing (and growing lots of vegetables) after we have all moved in.

The homes and other facilities are BuiltGreen to Gold standard and have in-floor radiant heat and water catchment. Each household may have up to “eight legs” for pets – that is two dogs, two cats, or one of each. We have adopted policies that govern smoking, fencing and parking that were developed to respect both individuals and the group.

We are free to rent out our homes, but are a stable residential community and most of the “owners” live at Belterra year-round and participate in the process of creating community.

Among us you will find: nurses, wood workers, teachers, musicians, techies, videographers, fine artists, therapists, social workers, body workers, doctors, seekers, gardeners, students, environmental consultants, editors, small business owners, builders, a yoga instructor, a financial analyst, a certified ecologist, an RCMP officer, a researcher, a graphic artist and a librarian. We have young children and retirees, and several ethnic groups are represented.

You can find us on Facebook and sign up for our eNewsletter, The Belterra Buzz.

Population

  • Adult Members: 49
  • Child Members: 8
  • Percent Women: 51-60%
  • Percent Men: 41-49%
  • Percent Transgender: 0%
  • Visitors accepted: Yes
  • Open to new Members: Yes

Social Factors

  • Common Spiritual Practice(s): Ecumenical (accepts all religions or spiritual practices), Eclectic (integrates multiple religious or spiritual beliefs), Christian, Buddhist, Jewish, Quaker, Unitarian Universalist, Paganism or Earth Religions, Mixed Eastern Philosophy or Practice, Humanist, Other
  • Education Style(s): Up to each individual

Government

  • Decision Making: Consensus + (everyone agrees, except for up to 3 people.)
  • Identified Leader: No
  • Leadership Core Group: No
  • Additional Comments: We are studying sociocracy and have a very agreeable group. So far, a loosely-structured form of consensus seems to work well.

Land and Buildings

  • Housing Provided: Yes, for all or most members.
  • Location: Small Town
  • Area: 10 acres
  • Land owned by: The Community
  • Current number of residences: 17
  • Planned number of residences: 30
  • Energy sources: Connected to the Grid, Hydro-Electric
  • Additional Comments: Belterra is bordered by 40 acres of municipal parkland and privately held lands that are mostly open space.

    Five buildings with a total of 30 units, with seven different floor plans plus gardens, workshop greenhouse, and a common house that includes indoor and outdoor kitchens, two guest bedrooms, lounge with wood burning fireplace, dining room, children’s playroom and multipurpose activity room.

    Planned completion of residences in stages, between December 2014 and July 2015 when the project will be finished.

    Please visit the Belterra website to meet us and consider attending a site visit: www.belterracohousing.ca

Labor and Money

  • Shared Income: Members have completely independent finances
  • Shared Expenses: Little or no share of expenses
  • Open to members with existing debt: Yes (some debts)
  • Join Fee: 0
  • Regular Fee: No
  • Additional Comments: Members must qualify for a mortgage or qualify for a “non-market” rate home in the community. At this time, all non-market housing at Belterra has been purchased.

Diet

  • Planned food produced: Up to 25%
  • Dietary Choice or Restrictions: Not at all important – people may eat however they individually choose.
  • Dietary Practice: Omnivorous (plants and animals), Local (food sourced within 100 miles), Organic (no pesticides or synthetic fertilizers), GMO Free (only non-genetically modified organisms), Vegetarian (no animal meat; dairy and eggs okay), Vegan (plants only, no animal products), Raw or Mostly Raw, Kosher
  • Alcohol Use: Yes, used occasionally.
  • Tobacco Use: Yes, used seldomly, or ceremoniously.

Photo Gallery

Video Gallery

[youlist vid=”http://vimeo.com/41931559 ” width=”720″ height=”480″]

Cohousing Info

  • Building site status: Building
  • Year construction was (or will be) completed: 2015
  • Number of housing units: 30
  • Shared common building: Yes (3346 square feet)
  • Architect: Mobius Architecture www.mobiusarchitecture.ca Peter Treuheit
  • Developer: Cohousing Development Consulting www.cohousingconsulting.ca and Burtnick Enterprises www.belbuilders.ca
  • Commercial Lender: Northshore Credit Union

Community Network or Organization Affiliations

The Fellowship for Intentional Community (FIC), Canadian Cohousing Network

Keywords

sustainable, green, intentional, children, art, music, healing, garden, collaborate, diversity,

We happily link to the following organizations, all of whom share our strong commitment to promoting community and a more cooperative world:
Cohousing The Federation of Egalitarian Communities - Communes Coop Community Cooperative Sustainable Intentional North American Students of Cooperation Global Ecovillage Network
Special thanks to the sponsors of our Art of Community Events.
Bryan Bowan Architects California Cohousing International Communes Desk ICSA NICA Wolf Creek Lodge