2020-11-04

Treehouse Village units half sold, while developers still awaiting approval

by KEITH CORCORAN

  • <p>A rendering of the proposed Treehouse Village common house provided to Bridgewater Town Council.</p>

Half of the units of a cohousing development proposed for Bridgewater's west side are sold, even though the project has yet to be approved by the town's civic government.

A public hearing concerning the Pearl Street proposal is slated for November 9, at which time town council could give second-and-final approval of a development agreement (DA), or choose not to proceed with second consideration, or seek more information. And even if the council gives a green light to the project, the decision can be appealed to the province's utility and review board during the course of a two-week period.

"Regarding the developer's excitement for the project, it's entirely up to any developer or applicant as to whether they choose to pre-sell or pre-market a development prior to successful completion of the DA process," Patrick Hirtle, a spokesman for the town, told LighthouseNOW in an e-mail.

"The town doesn't have any control over that and it's not part of our DA process."

A public participation meeting about the proposal hosted by the town earlier this year heard concerns relating to issues such as traffic volume and existing speeds on Peal Street, emergency vehicle access, and the location of internal trails on the site plan.

In late 2019, Treehouse Village Ecohousing, a locally-based numbered company, applied to the town for a development deal to build eight, two-storey townhouses off Pearl Street. It was to be part of a cohousing development involving a clustering of private homes with indoor and outdoor amenities being shared among residents. The proposal involved establishing a common house and 30 units in the array of townhouses on Bridgewater's west side.

"We are thrilled to have 15 of our 30 units pre-sold, and look forward to breaking ground as soon as we sell nine more," Leon de Vreede, a director and vice-president of the numbered company, said in a statement provided to LighthouseNOW. De Vreede and his wife Cate came up with the cohousing community concept two years ago. De Vreede works for the town as its sustainability planner.

"It's important to ensure Treehouse Village is a multi-generational community, so we are looking for that balance of young people and families, as well as older individuals," de Vreede said in the statement.

The project is billed as the first cohousing community in Atlantic Canada.

Mike and Emma Savage of Dartmouth plan to move to Bridgewater having heard about the Treehouse Village concept. As parents of two daughters, the married couple is convinced the living arrangement will better suit the family's needs.

"There's huge value in having close friends and neighbours that are open to sharing resources and support," the Savages said in a testimonial within the statement provided by Treehouse Village Ecohousing.

"All new parents tend to jokingly ask where this so-called village is to help raise their children. Now we can answer - your Village is in Bridgewater."

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