Despite the cold, dark winters of northern Europe, Denmark’s 5.7 million souls regularly top international happiness charts, and their brand of co-housing residences might soon be coming to Sidney.
The Danish concept of Hygge (pronounced “Hoo-Gah”) has become well known across the world, as a combination of elements that make up a happy, cozy life. Things that are Hyggelig are comfortable surroundings, light, warmth, enjoyable food and the idea of togetherness.
A happy home is so important to the Danes they even have a word for it - hjemmehygge.
And now Danish-style homes, the developers hope will be full of Hygge, are in the later planning application stages with the Town of Sidney.
Ravens Crossing Housing, named for the mystical ravens of the Salish Sea, aim to attract people of all generations, personality types, backgrounds and faiths to enjoy the opportunities more community interaction has to offer. Each home is a private unit, but all common areas and amenities will be open for communal use.
The housing association has purchased land in Sidney, on Resthaven and 7th Street.
A development permit, including the architectural landscape plans, has been submitted to the Town of Sidney. Ravens Crossing Housing hope to start construction in mid-2019 and have new homes ready in late 2020 or early 2021.
The homes will follow market-rates and be expected to cost close to $600,000 each.
In promotional material, the company says, “There will be a large community kitchen and dining room, small quiet spaces, an extensive garden area focusing on food gardening, native species and alfresco entertaining as well as a children’s play area (inside and out).”
The common house will be designed as a place for residents to share food, have meetings, celebrate events and indulge in activities such as movie nights and yoga practice.
The members of the housing association have a vested interest in the quality and structure of the housing, as they have all committed to buying a home there.
“We really care about the quality, we are building our own homes,” said Tracy Mills, one of the founding members of the association.
The company says that one of the benefits of a co-housing development is that potential buyers are able to provide input into how they would like the community to look and be structured, giving it a unique sense of place. This process will also see guidance from Cohousing Development Consulting, which have experience in co-housing developments, including the recent one in Sooke.
Decision making is done by consensus, with all members having a say in almost all areas of the development. So far, 16 out of the 34 homes have been earmarked for residents and there are seven homes temporarily reserved for associate members, who are people who have three months to access all meetings and plans before deciding if the housing project is for them.
Ravens Crossing Housing is hosting a free information evening for prospective buyers at 4:30 p.m. on March 2 at the McTavish Academy of Art.