Calgary cohousing community celebrates 10 years

Prairie Sky, which is home to more than 40 people, is the first cohousing community in Alberta — a development style better known in Europe and U.S.

2nd cohousing project to break ground in Calgary this weekend

As one cohousing project celebrates 10 years, another is in the works, reports Devin Heroux. 1:51

Alberta's first cohousing community is preparing to celebrate its 10th anniversary this weekend.

Prairie Sky Cohousing Cooperative — home to more than 40 people — sits on a large lot in Winston Heights where a single family home once stood.

A spontaneous gathering of Prairie Sky cohousing residents. (Prairie Sky website)

There are now 18 units spread among three buildings that are fully equipped townhouses or apartments.

Residents also share common spaces, including a 3,200-square-foot common house with a kitchen, dining room and lounge where community members gather for shared meals, recreation and other events.

Bernie Amell has lived at Prairie Sky since it was built and was involved in the development process for several years before construction.

"The main thing is fostering a real sense of community, not just the token side of that, but the real sense of community."

Annie Swenson, 13, has grown up at Prairie Sky. She wouldn't have it any other way.

"Everybody seems happy here, because there's nobody that's alone."

Cohousing differs from traditional co-operative housing in that cohousing residents own their units and can sell them if they wish. About a third of the units at Prairie Sky have changed hands in the last 10 years.

Cohousing is a popular development model in Europe and parts of the United States, but Prairie Sky has been the lone outpost of cohousing in Alberta until now.

As Prairie Sky residents mark their community's 10th anniversary Saturday, another Calgary cohousing group will be breaking ground for a new development in Bridgeland. That community is more than 90 per cent sold.