Frequently Asked Questions

Cohousing is new to Nova Scotia and we receive a lot of questions about what we are doing.

Below are some common questions that people have asked us about our community and our responses.

What is (E)cohousing?

Ecohousing is our twist on the cohousing name. It’s a mash-up of “eco”, “collaborative” and “housing”, all words that describe this project. Learn more about cohousing on our About Cohousing page.

Will I own my own home?

Yes. Once construction is complete, the neighbourhood will be incorporated under the ‘condominium’ legal structure.  Individual member households will each own one of the homes, as well as a share of the common facilities. Most cohousing communities in North America have chosen this ownership structure for financing convenience.

Just like any other home, members who want to sell their home need to find a buyer for it. Because Treehouse Village Ecohousing will be legally incorporated as a condominium, our homes can be bought and sold on the open market.

What is it going to cost?

We’re aiming for home prices in the $230k – $380k range.

We understand home prices in Nova Scotia are not as affordable as we would all like them to be. To be honest, as future members of this community, pricing has been a concern for our households as well. We are working hard to keep unit prices as low as possible, but at the same time, through our participation in the project the numerous benefits of cohousing, we have seen the true value of living here for many reasons.

While our pricing is comparable to new, energy efficient quality construction in the South Shore; you are also purchasing access to shared amenities when you choose Treehouse Village. These are available in our common house, and include office space, a children’s playroom, a fitness room, a workshop and even guestrooms for your friends and family to stay. Second, we not only offer energy efficiency in the homes, but our entire community, from the development of the land to living in it, offers more opportunity to reduce your carbon footprint and expenses than Atlantic Canada has ever seen. Also, in cohousing, the future residents work together to develop the community at cost; there is no developer profiting off the build. Investing in a cohousing community means more than just purchasing real estate - it means investing in an intentional life surrounded with everything you need at your fingertips, while providing long-term opportunities for reduced expenses and higher quality living.

Do you have land yet?

Yes! We own an incredible 15 acre piece of land at 54 Pearl St, located within the Town of Bridgewater, and bordering the Centennial Trail. It is a forested site with so much potential.

When can I move in?

We hope to move into our new homes in 2021, but now is the time to begin your cohousing journey. Join us!

Will pets be welcome?

We have not set guidelines as a community regarding pets yet, however pets are important to many of us.

Would I still have privacy?

Yes! We all value privacy as well as social contact. There can actually be increased privacy in cohousing because the common areas provide meeting places, guest spaces, rooms for socializing, etc., allowing individual homes to be places of privacy and retreat.

What is the common house?

In addition to modestly equipped private homes, our community will also share extensive common facilities, many of which will be located in the “common house”.

Common houses typically include a large kitchen and dining area for community meals, a lounge, guest rooms, a playroom, a workshop, and office space. The common house is designed to be the heart of the community and to encourage interaction between residents.

Will members share meals together?

Sharing meals is an important part of all cohousing communities. They typically share anywhere from a few meals per month to as many as 7 nights per week. It depends entirely on the wishes of the residents, and participation is up to each individual – social activities are always optional.

What is your legal and governance structure?

“Treehouse Village Ecohousing” is a development company, owned by its members, with the sole purpose of developing this community and the money to make the development happen comes from its member households. This is the simplest and most common legal structure for cohousing developments because it limits member liability, allows flexibility, and is most easily recognized by lending institutions.

While the up-front capital comes from the members, the company can take out a construction loan to finance the build. There is never any profit to the company; homes are sold to the members at cost, and the company is dissolved after construction is complete. Once we move in, Treehouse village will be incorporated as a standard condominium corporation.

Like many established cohousing communities, uur group uses Sociocracy (aka: Dynamic Governance) as its governance structure and decision-making method. Sociocracy is a participatory, consent based process which distributes power non-heirachically among members. No prior experience is neccessary, members receive training and ongoing support in using sociocracy.

How do I become a member?

The first step involves a low stakes commitment of becoming an Explorer member. This is a low cost 3-month membership which allows you to join and discover the community before you make a commitment to equity.

Check out our Join Us page for details on info sessions and becoming a member.

Do I have to like everyone?

No. As in any community, residents will be naturally closer to some than others.  However, our members all expect and deserve to be treated with respect, which fosters a healthy community. In addition to designing the physical structures, residents will design the social structures that enable respectful relationships.

Can I expect free child care, or help if I get sick?

Cohousing is envisioned as a community in which people are friendly and supportive to each other – especially in times of need. However, this support is always voluntary, and usually arranged between individuals.

Can I still be a member if I live far away?

In the design phase, yes! We currently have members as far away as California and the United Kingdom. We use online platforms and tools, such as video conferencing and cloud storage, which enable members to participate in meetings from wherever they are. Training and support with these tech tools is provided.

Once we move in, we’ll all be neighbours and wont have to rely on all this technology so much!

Is meeting attendance mandatory?

Our full membership meets once a month. Relationships are strengthened through discussion at meetings, by working together in circles, and by socializing at community events.  An effective and cohesive community is best forged by working and making decisions together. Attendance at meetings is not mandatory.  However, you are expected to abide by the decisions made by the group in your absence.

How will the choice of homes be prioritized?

When the final design of Treehouse Village Ecohousing is complete and the homes are ready for construction, the home pricing structure will be determined based on home size and desirability. Then members will choose their home, with the order of seniority determined by the date the member became an equity member. 

What will be expected of me after the development is complete?

After move-in, members will work together to organize maintenance and ongoing duties. There will be a monthly maintenance fee that each owner will be expected to pay, and there will continue to be regular meetings concerning the running of the community and further decision-making.

Will there be condo fees?

There will be monthly fees that go towards the upkeep of all the common elements (the building exteriors, the common house, the grounds, etc). We do not know what these fees will be yet, but anticipate that they will not be very different from regular condos in this area.

What is Bridgewater like?

Bridgewater is a progressive town that has developed a reputation for innovation in sustainability and is gaining national exposure for its efforts. It has also been recognized as the best community in Atlantic Canada for young families and is home to many excellent amenities and the surrounding countryside has abundant natural beauty and cultural delights.

More information on the town of Bridgewater >>