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Climate Adaption with Driftwood Village Cohousing

Learn how a North Vancouver cohousing development tackled park rehabilitation with their bare hands.
Members of the development group take part in stewardship activities. Image: M C Carlucci
Image: M C Carlucci

Published on March 02, 2019

Developers face strict rules when new buildings go up next to parks, but a unique “development group” in the City of North Vancouver is changing the way developers engage with parks.

At Driftwood Village Cohousing, the residents are the developer.

They not only have the responsibilities of a traditional developer, but they're also required to uphold the shared values of the “intentional community” in the building.

With values such as: it takes a village, do more with less, money matters, working together, embrace diversity, and learning from each other — it makes sense that Driftwood Village Cohousing members would tackle the streamside restoration work required as a part of their development permit themselves, rather than hire an outside firm.

With Evergreen’s 15-year track record of success in engaging Vancouver communities by managing invasive species in urban parks through City Park Stewards, the group enlisted our help.

No one in this group had ever undertaken a project like this before. Required to remove invasive plant species, like Himalayan blackberry, English holly and English ivy, and replacing them with native plants, required skills the group had not yet developed. Enter, Evergreen.

Evergreen looked to help Driftwood build skills within their membership so that they could plan and execute an effective invasive plant management plan for the park adjacent to their future home.

On a brisk January morning, Driftwood members learned to identify both native and invasive plants in the park, tested a variety of tools and equipment, and planned out the work required of them over the next year. The all-ages group then got to work on the ground, removing 1,100 pounds of invasive plants and opening up the park for native plants to be installed in the fall.

Members of Driftwood Cohousing take part in stewardship activities.

With the skills they learned from Evergreen, the Driftwood members will rehabilitate more than 1,500 square metres of the park and forge a connection with the land that will last a lifetime.

Greenspaces provide social, economic and ecological services to all citizens, yet they face increasing pressure as the number of people living in cities grows and the demand for more housing and development encroaches upon existing parkland.

The stewardship practiced by this group will have a lasting impact on the way that the City of North Vancouver engages with its citizens and the ways in which community members can engage with our public spaces, especially the greenspaces that are so vital in our cities.