Plan promotes cohousing

plan to create a co-housing development in Vernon has provided an educational experience and professional opportunity for students

Okanagan College Sustainable Construction Management Technology instructor Amy Vaillancourt gives instructions to students while analyzing a potential site for a cohousing community in Vernon.

An ambitious plan to create a co-housing development in Vernon has provided an educational experience and professional opportunity for students.

Barbara and Mel VanSickle have been actively promoting the creation of a cohousing community in the greater Vernon area, which they have named Vernon Village.

Since last spring people seeking to find out more about cohousing have been involved in monthly meetings focusing on values and a community vision for the project.

Part of the process has been determination of possible sites in the Vernon area.

To aid in the analysis of various site attributes including annual incoming solar radiation, distance to downtown core, public transit, access to amenities (eg. parks and trails), noise etc., Barbara approached instructors at Okanagan College’s Penticton campus about possible help.

In late September, a dozen students from the Sustainable Construction Management Technology program came to Vernon with their two course instructors, Brian Rippy and Amy Vaillancourt. They analyzed two possible sites.

“Teaming up with the students is a win-win situation as the students have the opportunity to analyze real sites, while the cohousing group gets the benefit of their research,” said Barbara.

Alanna Dean, member of Vernon Village, showed students her Solar Pathfinder instrument for determining solar radiation values at the sites during a year.

For more information about cohousing, which promotes sharing, caring and living responsibly on this planet, visit or

For updates on Vernon Village visit or look for Vernon Village Cohousing on Facebook. You can also call Barbara VanSickle at (778) 475-3453.

For more information on the College’s SCMT program, visit


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