Cohousing promises a lively intergenerational mix of people. Since 2001, our community has been just that.
Single folk, couples, and families with kids. All ages and a variety of backgrounds. While social butterflies thrive in cohousing, introverts feel at home here too.
What brings us together is the common desire to enjoy community life and know our neighbours. Potlucks, meetings, and work bees are opportunities to connect.
Taking care of our buildings and communities builds teamwork. From mechanics to ukeleles, we share our passions. Throughout the year we gather to celebrate special occasions.
Living at Cranberry Commons means knowing your neighbours and having the opportunity to socialize and work co-operatively with them. Here are some of the regular activities that folks can participate in:
- common meals where a few people cook for everyone and we share a meal in the common house
- potluck dinners
- gathering to sing and play musical instruments
- morning coffee on the weekends;
- “movie nights” in the common house;
- a book club
- celebrating birthdays, holidays, and special events.
In addition to planned activities, we often socialize casually and spontaneously. The children usually take advantage of having available playmates and engage in lively fun in the outdoor common areas.
We also work together to manage the physical, financial, legal, and social aspects of our community. We meet regularly and make decisions by consensus. Groups of people will often get together to accomplish projects such as assembling a playhouse, gardening, painting, etc.
On an individual basis, community members often arrange to borrow or share equipment such as cars, canoes, barbeques, and tools. Some families exchange child care. Living in close proximity makes it easier to make arrangements that make our lives easier.
Some people in the community are close friends, while others are simply friendly neighbours. While we enjoy living in close proximity, we also respect our neighbours’ privacy and busy lives. In addition to life at Cranberry Commons, many of us have vibrant careers and enjoy urban culture and nearby outdoor get-aways.
Cranberry Commons is located on a residential street, with single-family homes across the street. We enjoy majestic views of the North Shore Mountains.
Our complex includes 22 homes arranged around a courtyard. Our townhouse and apartment-style homes range in size from approximately 500 to 1300 square feet.
We worked with our consultants, our architect, and our builder to integrate sustainability features into the project design. These include solar panels, a high efficiency in-floor radiant heating system, water-efficient toilets and showers, resource-efficient building materials, and “healthy” interior finishes. We proudly accepted the City of Burnaby 2002 Environment Award for outstanding environmental achievements in planning and development.
We also benefit from various technological features including a computer local area network, high-speed internet access, proximity card readers on common gates, and various security enhancements.
The heart of the community is the Common House, which includes a spacious kitchen, dining area, lounge, and children’s area. The 3400 square feet of common areas also include a guest room, laundry facilities, workshop, office with shared computer, meeting room, children’s playroom, reading room, and storage. Our outdoor areas include a community garden, a roof deck, and a courtyard. There is also lots of underground parking and bicycle storage.
Cranberry Commons is not unlike many cohousing groups in that we have placed a high priority on respecting the environment. We have attempted to incorporate sustainability into every aspect of the community design, starting with the selection of the site right up to the solar hot water panels that were installed on the roof.
The site was chosen because it is located within a block of a busy commercial street with grocery stores, a wide variety of shops and restaurants, banks and other amenities. It’s close to a major public transportation corridor and is an easy half-hour bus ride to downtown Vancouver. This makes it easier for residents to rely less on the automobile as a primary means of transportation.
Some of our sustainability features are listed below.
Energy and Water Conservation
Using a centrally located, commercial-grade high-efficiency boiler for domestic hot water and space heating combined with an in-floor radiant heat distribution system increases both energy efficiency and occupant comfort. The extra cost of the in-floor system was made more palatable by the anticipation of a warm floor under bare feet, avoiding the dust and noise issues associated with forced-air or electrical heating systems, and the $3,500/year savings in energy costs for the project.
With the support of the Canadian government’s Renewable Energy Deployment Initiative and the BC provincial government’s Renewable Energy Technology Program, solar hot-water panels were installed, which offset the domestic hot water load by 50%.
Landscaping employs native plantings, which require lower maintenance and water use and enhance the local natural ecosystem. Rain barrels located near planted areas such as the common garden further reduce potable water demands.
The Heights is one of the best kept secrets in the Lower Mainland. With a strong sense of community and history, beautiful views, parks and trails, recreational amenities, and a thriving business district all within walking distance, on the Heights, life is as it should be.—The Heights
Cranberry Commons is located in Burnaby Heights (also known as North Burnaby). The neighbourhood is established, with a rich diversity of ethnic backgrounds and homeowners who have lived here for much of their lives. We are in walking distance of various grocery stores, produce stores, and delicatessens. Banks and family-run businesses, bakeries, cappuccino bars, and restaurants are also located nearby. There are numerous community amenities in the area. The Eileen Dailly Leisure Pool and Fitness Centre, a seniors’ centre, a library, Confederation Park, and the Trans Canada Trail are all blocks away.
Our local elementary school is Gilmore Community School. As a community school, Gilmore encourages community involvement, including after-school activities for students, evening education and recreational programs for adults, and early learning programs for preschool-aged children.
The Hastings corridor provides express bus service to downtown Vancouver (30 minutes) and Simon Fraser University. Local buses also provide good transit connections to various bus and Skytrain routes.
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Frequently Asked Questions
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