Birchwood Co-housing

Intentional. Innovative. Intergenerational.

Our Community

The Bulkley River runs through a verdant valley, ringed by mountain ranges and, where the glacial blue-green waters of the Telkwa River join the Bulkley River, you will find the village of Telkwa and the site of Birchwood Cohousing.The economy of the Bulkley Valley is diversified, with forestry, agriculture, mining, tourism, government agencies and small-scale business. With four robust seasons, plus rivers, lakes and mountains, the valley is a recreational paradise, with down-hill, backcounty and cross-country skiing, hiking, boating and fishing, including world-class steelhead fly-fishing.The valley’s cultural scene is vibrant—rich in music, arts and crafts, First Nations history, drama and literature.

Smithers, a 10-minute drive (or half hour bike ride) is the commercial centre, with shopping, banking, government services, five elementary and 2 secondary schools, a movie theatre, museum and art gallery and an airport with three carriers providing frequent daily flights to Vancouver, Terrace and Prince George.

Telkwa, whose motto is “Where Rivers Meet and Friends Gather” is a village of approximately 500, whose residents live on either side of the Bulkley River. Its amenities include an elementary school (Kindergarten to Grade 7), gas station, convenience store, farm and building supplier, cafe, German bakery, pottery shop and hair dressers. It is served by two fire halls.

A sunny bench above the town and rivers, with mountain vistas in all directions and adjoining Tyhee Provincial Park, is the site of Birchwood Cohousing. The wooded area in which the Cohousing neighbourhood will be constructed is part of a 70-acre, rolling hay field. Through this field, pathways are mowed in summer or set in winter, for locals and visitors to walk, bike, ski or snowshoe through all the seasons.

Our People

Mel and Evi

Mel and Evi met on a hike in Manning Park, B.C. and they are still hiking together 41 years later! Mel, originally from UK and Evi, from Switzerland, were part of the “Back to the Land Movement” of the early 1970s which shared a common theme with cohousing – to live more lightly on the earth. They lived their dream by building their own log house on 160 acres close to wilderness in the Bulkley Valley.

After a busy career as Civil Engineer (Mel) and Draftsperson (Evi) they are enjoying their retirement, but finding it busier still! Their interests and hobbies are many and varied, including birdwatching and being out in nature, hiking, crosscountry skiing, snow-shoeing, music and travel, as well as astronomy and renovating community buildings (Mel) and painting and photography (Evi).

Daryl and Dina

Daryl and Dina were both raised on small farms, east of Vancouver. From his dad, and her mom, they learned the skills of gardening and animal husbandry (though they didnʼt necessarily appreciate that as teen-agers!). Post-secondary education at UBC was followed by a 16-month hitch-hiking trek across Canada, the US and Caribbean and a year of that time, thumbing through most of the countries of South America.

Returning home, they headed north, to Faro, Yukon, where Daryl worked in exploration geology, Dina taught elementary school and they welcomed two sons, Ryan and Tay. After eight years in the Land of the Sourdoughs, they settled south, in Quick, a small, rural community in the Bulkley Valley, where they adopted a third son, Taza. Work, gardens, greenhouse, cattle, pigs, roasting and laying chickens, kidsʼ activities and volunteering kept them busy.

Daryl continues to work in mining; Dina volunteers with several organizations. They enjoy the out-of-doors: gardening, firewood, hiking, backcountry skiing and paddling, in both the Bulkley Valley and on Quadra Island. Travel is also a special part of their lives. But most important, and fun, are their 5 grand-children! They are delighted to be a part of Birchwood Cohousing and look forward to learning more about gardening, hiking with other members of the group and making beautiful music with other Cohousers.

Murray and Jane

Murray and Jane have an active family of 7 that moved to the Bulkley Valley 3 years ago from Alberta, via Sri Lanka where they lived and worked for 3 years. Murray is a contractor in town working on projects large and small and has over a decade of experience in construction. He is a certified mechanical engineering technologist and holds a Red Seal in carpentry. Jane manages hearth and herd and the administrative/creative side of the business while drinking large quantities of coffee. The whole family enjoys hiking, biking, skiing/snowboarding, cross country skiing, skating, reading, food, art, and spending time with their friends.

​Bev

Heather

John and Sandi

John and Sandi have lived in the Bulkley Valley since 1987 where they raised their three children: Cedric, Jodi and Kristin. They have enjoyed the quiet non urban life style. John retired from teaching at a local Christian school where he taught for 25 years. Sandi still works part time for the same school as a library clerk. They have enjoyed hiking the mountains, cross country skiing and fishing in the Bulkley River for steelhead on a fly. They have been actively monitoring 100 nest boxes to encourage nesting sites for Mountain Bluebirds for the past 25 years. They look forward to being a part of a cohousing community where they can meet and work with their neighbours in the community garden.

June 20, 2016: Birchwood Receives High Marks for Sustainability from the Village of Telkwa