Nfld. & Labrador

Love thy neighbour? Co-housing development planned for Portugal Cove

A woman living in Portugal Cove-St. Phillips has an ambitious plan to create a co-housing development, but don’t call it a commune.

Wendy Reid-Fairhurst is looking for interested buyers

Wendy Reid-Fairhurst is ready to live closely with her neighbours. (Zach Goudie/CBC)

A woman living in Portugal Cove-St. Phillips has an ambitious plan to create a co-housing development, but don't call it a commune.

Wendy Reid-Fairhurst has long wondered what it would be like to live closely with people and get to know her neighbours better. 

They could share meals, lawnmowers, skills and more.

"I'm a mom, my husband works away most of the summer and I try to run my own business," she told CBC Radio's On The Go on Friday.

"I need a village around me, so I decided I would pursue this co-housing."

Armed with the idea, which she learned about while pursuing an undergraduate degree in environmental design, she applied for and won a grant with the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation to study its feasibility.

Looking for buyers

Reid-Fairhurst says the plan is to build 20 privately owned homes on a shared piece of property in the Portugal Cove area.

The price per unit is still being discussed, but on paper, Reid-Fairhurst says she's looking at a $250,000-per-unit budget.

"We are trying to do it within the traditional North American model. So we all have our own jobs; it's just a way of how you set up your space to foster the community piece that we seem to be missing," said Reid-Fairhurst.

Don't expect a hippie commune, says Reid-Fairhurst. (Mombas at en.wikipedia)

She thinks it will help make day-to-day life less lonely.

"I live on a great little cul-de-sac with 10 houses, but I don't really know my neighbours because there's no reason for us to meet," said Reid-Fairhurst.

She also wants to look at the co-housing model to see if it would fit with more affordable housing.

"Over the last two years I've been really trying to talk about it with as many people as I can because this is such a valuable project."

The next step is to secure land and construction financing, and she said she hopes to get a financial commitment from interested individuals this summer.

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