Co-ops welcome Liberal commitments on energy retrofits and promise of more housing announcements

I just got this email blast from the Cooperative Housing Federation of Canada.

Liberal leader Stéphane Dion made an announcement of funding to help co-op members and other Canadians renovate their homes to conserve energy. The event took place at Pine Ridge Housing Co-operative in Burnaby, which is exploring the option of converting to thermal heating. In a discussion with housing co-op members, the Liberal leader also promised to reveal his plans for social and co-op housing later in the campaign.

This promise addresses one of the key issues CHF Canada and housing co-ops are raising in this election.

CHF Canada welcomes this major announcement and looks forward to hearing more from all parties during this campaign.

Canada's Olympic Flag Bearer a Co-op Kid

Adam van Koeverden

Adam van Koeverden carried Canada's flag at the opening ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics. Van Koeverden, a kayaker who won a silver in Beijing and gold and bronze medals in Athens, grew up at Chautauqua Co-operative Homes in Oakville, Ontario -- where his mother, Beata Bokrossy, still lives.

It’s not just ability that wins medals. It takes a very secure person to take the kind of personal risks and do the kind of work that Adam did, and the community was a big part of that. I don’t think that as a single parent raising two kids that I would have had the sense of personal security that I had if I hadn’t lived in a co-op, and that can’t help but have been transferred to my children. Adam is a co-op kid who understands and appreciates the value of having grown up in a co-op.

Unique Student Housing Co-Op Uses Unique Fundraising Drive

The GRAND HOUSE project

The Grand House Student Co-operative, in Cambridge, ON, is nearing completion. It is one of the first university student housing co-ops to be developed in many years. Its large house will accommodate 12 students. The building itself is on the cutting-edge of environmental design including using straw bale construction. The co-op has launched a Buy-a-Bale campaign to raise funds to help it complete the project. For more on the co-op, its unique construction, or its campaign, go to

CHF Canda Calls for Permanent Affordable Housing Options

Last month’s announcement of funds from the Homelessness Partnering Strategy (HPS) for two homelessness shelters in Vancouver—while welcome—only puts a band-aid on the housing and homelessness crisis that is facing the city, the Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada (CHF Canada) says.

Housing Cooperative Makes Even Lewiston Liveable

Kelly found this great video made by some of the members of a housing cooperative in Lewiston, Maine. I don't know much about Lewiston, but according to the video, it gets a bad rap. These members tell the world that Lewiston is not all bad, and that their cooperative is helping to create a worth while community.

Country Hills Co-op Celebrates 20th Anniversary

Country Hills Co-op Logo

Saturday August 16, 2008, Country Hills Co-op will celebrate their 20th anniversary with a community carnival, BBQ dinner, and evening street dance. Happy Anniversary!

Participation vs Community Building

I think it is easy for "community builders" to forget that the primary purpose of our cooperatives is to provide affordable housing by having the members pool their money together. The cooperative principles only include economic participation, and most cooperatives have a very detailed policy for dealing with arrears. Everything else is gravy.

By keeping a good attitude about those who are participating, and by becoming strong community builders, we can foster an environment where more people will see value in the community and thus more likely to become community builders.

See my lists detailing how to participate vs how to help build a community.

White Mulberry, Morus alba

White Mulberry: Morus alba

Extending over the fence behind Block One and onto the sidewalk is a white mulberry tree which is now covered in fruit. Mulberries are made into jellies, jams, pies and added to baked goods. Mulberries also make a good wine. As far as I can tell, most of our mulberries are left on the tree and no one, except the birds, is taking advantage of its bounty.

Over thousands of years, the mulberry tree has a history completely intertwined with human economies.

Bugs of Beaver Creek: Stink Bugs

Stink Bug

Though people commonly refer to all insects as bugs, entomologically the term is reserved for a specific group of insects called “true bugs”. These insects have characteristic needle-like mouthparts that stab and suck the liquefied contents from other organisms like a straw. They form a large order of insects called Hemiptera, which includes a particularly pungent bunch of bugs:

Stink Bugs

Coming in a range of colours and patterns, the shield-shaped stink bugs can be quite an attractive lot of insects. Unfortunately for us (but fortunately for them), they stink!

Beaver Creek Word Cloud

Beaver Creek Word Cloud

Here is a word cloud generated by Wordle. It was created by taking some of the copy from the website and feeding it into Wordle. It generated this image by taking the words that appear more frequently and making them larger. It gives a quick way to see what the important issues are at Beaver Creek. (The image as uploaded is small and a little fuzzy, click to see the full version. )