On June 14, 2014, Mauril Bélanger, the MP for Ottawa-Vanier and the Liberal Advocate for Cooperatives visited Vancouver and tour several co-operatives, including the First Avenue Athlete’s Village Housing Co-operative, where I live. The tour was organized by the British Columbia Cooperatives Association (BCCA).
Here is an excerpts of a post by the BCCA on Mauril’s visit:
The Athlete’s Village Housing Co-op gives Mauril a warm welcome
The rain was drizzling and the skies were grey, but the Saturday tour continued to be lit up with the warm welcome from co-ops.
Mauril Bélanger was to be the guest of honour at the Athlete’s Village Housing Co-op for lunch, sponsored by CHFBC, and a tour of the facilities. […]
[W]e headed to the Athlete’s Village Co-op where we were greeted by a number of the housing executive and special committee members along with Thom Armstrong, Executive Director of CHFBC and Yuri Artibise, the Vice President of the board of CHFBC.
The Athlete’s Village was a charming example of co-op housing and the capacity it has to build community and foster the next generation. During the lunch CHFBC graciously provided, a committee member explained how they had transformed the common area of the building into a play area for children. A load bearing wall that had been built in the center of the room (hidden in the original plans) had the effect of dividing the kitchen and meeting area and closing off what had the potential to be a lively social gathering place. To overcome the obstacle, one member (also a children’s librarian) and other interested members began to transform the wall into a book swapping area. The wall is now host to hundreds of books for members to resource along with children’s games and puzzles.
After lunch we were invited to visit the roof-top gardens of the building, which is gardened collectively by member volunteers, who have first dibs on the harvest. We learned about a special partnership that the Athlete’s Village has formed with Hives for Humanity, that provided hives and maintenance services to keep bees in the garden. This is a lovely — and sustainable — addition to the garden.
The Gardening committee president explained that some of the volunteers are Master Gardeners who are helping to teach gardening newbies harvesting tips and maintenance practices. Through telling the story of the garden one could tell that this place was a centerpiece in the community, helping people to develop relationship and friendships as well as agricultural skills.
Bélanger and the BCCA left the Athlete’s Village with not only full stomachs from the wonderful spread but also full hearts. This co-op housing community is living the co-op dream, providing opportunity and connectedness to over 84 members. It had that small town feel in the center of the city. For growing families, what more could you ask for?
To learn more about the Athlete’s Village visit here: http://athletesvillagecoop.com/
To learn more about MP Bélanger visit to Vancouver, check out the series of posts on the British Columbia Cooperatives Association website