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  • Writer's pictureAl Parrish

Feels Like Spring

Updated: Aug 18, 2023

Blue skies and sunny. Nine degrees. Snow is melting. The streets are dry enough that you can hear the sounds of road hockey going on just out front. It’s feeling a whole lot like spring today. I know, I know. It’s February and, here in (even the most southerly parts of) Ontario, there is usually at least some vestige of winter that hangs around until April… It matters not.


It feels like spring: a time for change, growth, and renewal.


Our community, GrassRoutes has a Land Acquisition circle that has undertaken a search for just the right piece of land (NOTE: not the “perfect” piece of land because, as far as we can tell, it does not exist) which meets the criteria we have set out for the site where we can plant ourselves – settle, put down roots, build, grow, and live. What a challenge!


The real estate market in this area over the last couple of years has been 100% nuts. Whether in or out of town, in this town or that, with or without buildings, zoned for residential use or not… we’ve looked at hundreds of possibilities. Some have shown more promise and we have scoped out a number of these, in more detail using the skills of our urban planning and architect advisors.



Long and short? No joy in Mudville.


Although GrassRoutes had been feeling a bit stuck about how to find land, we have been working on building a social community, getting incorporated, writing bylaws, training in sociocracy. So we got in touch with a group in Guelph called Speedvale Cohousing. Over the last few years, they have been assembling land near downtown Guelph and making plans for rezoning the properties and designing a cohousing site. But for all they’ve accomplished, they had hit a bit of a roadblock in finding people.


Sense the potential synergy between Speedvale and GrassRoutes? We do.


So in early March, we are gathering the current membership of both groups to have a workshop led by a pair of architects who have both expertise in architecture/design/building, and a wealth of knowledge about cohousing. We will walk Speedvale’s property in Guelph, and then spend a day discussing the current design proposal which has been presented to the City of Guelph and possibilities for a future together. We will look at architectural drawings and financial spreadsheets and we’ll talk about how we may create the change that we want to see.


It’s a great opportunity to renew both groups, to come together and create something bigger and better than just the sum of the parts (which was already pretty great).


Change, growth, and renewal… must be spring!

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