Paloma Housing Co-op - Co-op of the Month - March 2012

As part of our celebration of the United Nations International Year of Co-operatives (IYC) in 2012, CHF BC will highlight a Co-op of the Month as one way of showing how co-operative enterprises make a better world. Find out how your co-op can be the next Co-op of the Month.

Featured Co-op of the Month for March 2012 – Paloma Housing Co-op

Paloma Housing Co-op is a 44-unit townhouse-style housing co-op in the Commercial Drive neighbourhood of East Vancouver. The first members moved into their homes in 1985. The co-op celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2010 right after completing a major envelope repair that replaced its damaged stucco and mouldy units and balconies and transformed it into the envy of the block. Some of the original members still live in the co-op and can tell the story of the co-op's evolution.

Paloma member Ian Marcuse reflects on what makes the co-op special.

"Paloma Co-op is a microcosm of what I desire in this world, which is to live in a supportive, caring, creative, environmentaly friendly and just community, where we value sharing and working together towards improving our co-op."  And whether it's through new member potlucks, summer barbecues, landscaping workparties, Friday night happy hours, yoga groups, and even committee work, he notes that Paloma members get to experience the feeling of camaraderie, friendship, and social connection.

Reflecting on his eight years living at Paloma, something Ian really loves about the co-op is its strong environmental ethic. "We have a Modo Co-op car parked out front, a shared cargo bike trailer, beyond-the-blue-box recycling, outdoor clotheslines, lots of  green space to grow food and for composting, and new fruit trees going in this spring. I love having the space to dig in the soil and grow some of my own food."

In 2012 the co-op is keen to celebrate the significance of housing co-ops to their neighbourhood and are working to plan a 'co-op cluster' event with neighbouring co-ops. The co-op has hung an IYC 2012 banner in front of their building and the members hope to be able to do something that will leave a co-op legacy for 2012 in their community.

Photos: Ian Marcuse (centre) and two other Paloma members Lynnette Morton (left) and Gaye Ferguson (right) hang the IYC 2012 banner at Paloma.