Pheasant Meadows Housing Co-op builds community

Pheasant Meadows Co-op is a 40-unit co-op in the View Royal area of Victoria, BC and is our Co-op of the Month for May 2012.

Helen Cave is the co-op’s president.  For her, it's the community spirit that makes her co-op stand out.

“The layout of the co-op has an inner area where kids can play:  road hockey, lacrosse, basketball, or they ride their bikes, play kick-the-can and hide-and-seek.  Because the kids tend to congregate there, the parents come out and they get to know one another.” 

Cave notes that the majority of members know their immediate neighbours and are comfortable to ask “if they need to borrow an egg.”  People will call out to say "hi" to neighbours when they pass by.  And people develop friendships.

The co-op’s mission statement sums up the co-op's key values:

Pheasant Meadows Housing Co-op provides quality, affordable, sustainable housing within a safe, friendly, caring community. 

“Our buildings are relatively well looked after,” says Cave.  The other real bonus is the location and setting.

“We back onto a park with a tidal creek so we’ve got our area but you can go down to the park. The co-op is also very handy and close to main bus routes and highways, very close to the Galloping Goose Trail and the E&N Trail."

And the co-op has plans to continue to develop the community:

“We’ve worked together on our capital plan and we’re moving forward on replacement reserve projects, capital plan projects. And some families are very interested in developing community garden plots.”

The co-op work parties are memorable for building community too. For instance, there's the time when members pitched in to paint the exterior steps of some units. Members shared the task. Then they celebrated with a barbecue.  Every year the co-op holds a summer festival, “Pheastiva” and a Christmas party for the kids. This year it will celebrate the International Year of Co-operatives.

The co-op is a good example of the International Year of Co-operatives' slogan “co-operative enterprises help build a better world,” because it provides housing with good-sized family units of two, three and four bedrooms. But there's more.

“The other thing I’ve seen over the years,” says Cave, “is for some people, because they get stable housing, they're able to focus on education and improve their job situation and the quality of their lives. And the friendships and community support has been invaluable for people facing challenges.”