Green Cove Co-operative Ltd. (GCC) is a recently formed co-operative with the following mission: To build an eco-sensitive co-operative community for the 55+ with a focus on healthy aging, commitment to each other, and a commitment to the larger Miramichi community in which we live.
GCC has evolved through the considerable efforts of a few community minded individuals who have pursued this vision for the past several years under the previous non-profit entities of Green Cove Futures and Green Cove Retirement Ltd. We eventually decided on a Co-op organizational model because it embodies the co-operative active aging vision we want our members to enjoy (as outlined in Appendix “A” below) and because of the well established and legally tested governance model it provides.
GCC is a for-profit co-operative registered by shares. It was incorporated under the provisions of the Co-Operative Associations Act of N.B. on June 29, 2016. Co-ops are completely owned and democratically controlled by their members on the basis of “one member, one vote”. This means that regardless of how many shares a person might own, every member has an equal say in key issues facing the co-op. This is different from a corporation where the people with the most money/shares make the decisions. Like any business, co-ops must generate enough revenue to cover their operating expenses and they can pay a return on members’ investment. They differ in their values, however, that put “people and planet above profits”.
Co-ops are founded on seven fundamental principles practiced by more than 750,000 co-ops around the world: Voluntary and open membership; Democratic member control; Member economic participation; Autonomy and independence: Education, training, and information; Co-operation among co-operatives; Concern for community.
Like any co-operative, GCC is governed by a Board of Directors. The current Board was elected at the first general meeting held on October 18, 2016. The Board members are:
Vern Goodfellow – Chair; Jack Hunter – Honorary Vice Chair; Norm Rogers – Vice Chair; Bob Currie – 2nd Vice Chair Bob MacDonald; Beth Foley Parker; Carol Estey; Peggy Savoy; Ed Rawlinson; Rick Patterson. Assisting the Board are: Rick Hayward – Webmaster; Melanie Gallant – Office administrator and Secretary-Treasurer.
After extensive research and consultations, GCC plans to build a 70 unit, high quality, independent living complex at a projected cost of $12-$14 million dollars. In keeping with our vision of building an eco-sensitive co-operative community that minimizes its environmental footprint, we intend to use quality construction materials and the latest energy saving technologies to help achieve this goal. While we anticipate this may result in moderately higher construction costs, this would quickly be compensated by greatly reduced operational and long-term maintenance costs. The fully accessible complex is expected to include efficiently designed living units, dining facilities, covered parking, exercise facilities, high-speed internet connectivity, advanced emergency call system, as well as generous common, private and outdoor spaces for relaxing and socializing.
In keeping with our active aging and community outreach goals, we also hope to construct a large stand-alone building to contain general workspace/meeting areas and special activity areas such as a woodworking shop and garage workspace. We plan for this building to be a community focal point for a range of activities we would promote and share with the larger Miramichi community. All this in a beautiful setting overlooking the Miramichi River and boarded by an existing public park and walking trails.
In partnership with an experienced enterprise management company, APHL of Moncton, GCC is pursuing a financing arrangement which will allow it to eventually become the sole owners of our facilities. In so doing, members will not only be able to ensure that their retirement complex offers the quality lifestyle and services they want, they can also look forward to reaping the benefits of a successful business adventure. As shareholders, members can expect to receive a financial dividend on their shares once the co-op can financially afford to. How much of the co-op’s profits will be returned to members in the form of a dividend and how much might be invested in further member services / benefits will be determined by the co-op members themselves at their annual meetings.
While financing details are still being finalized, the following represents the fundamentals of our financing plans. Members will pay monthly rent at normal market rates for their units and for any additional optional services for which they may subscribe. Rental rates are projected to be in the $900 – $1700 per month range depending on the size of the unit. Optional “for fee” services would include underground parking, housekeeping and laundry services, meal plans, medication administration, emergency response, etc.
Rent revenues are necessary to pay mortgage payments, investor dividend returns, and facility maintenance and enhancements. Initially, membership in GCC can be secured by completing an application and purchasing one $50.00 membership share. In addition to this share, members will be required to purchase an additional 200 shares ($10,000) when they have to make their rental commitment prior to occupancy. The $10,000 becomes a “share” investment that members will own in their co-op community and will be used as equity towards the cost of our complex. Beyond these mandatory shares, members may purchase additional shares up to a total of 2,000 ($100,000) in 100-share lots. All shares will normally be fully refundable to a member or their estate when they no longer live in the complex (the timing of this refund would depend on the financial status of our co-op and/or whether a new resident is available to take occupancy at that time).
The Board of GCC has investigated our eligibility for a provincial tax credit program that encourages New Brunswickers’ to channel their investment dollars into economic development activities in their own community by providing a 50% personal income tax credit on their provincial taxes for investments of up to $250,000. This tax credit program provides a significant investment incentive that we expect some of our members may be interested in taking greater advantage of. With further equity investments, member investors would become eligible for further tax credits and proportionally greater dividends. All indications suggest we would qualify for this program, but the formal application is a complex process that will not be initiated until we have established that it is the most appropriate option for GCC to meet its financing needs.
The rest of our required financing needs would be met by providing non-member investors with the opportunity to invest in our venture at a fixed rate of return (and hopefully with provincial tax credits) and, whatever may still be remaining, through a financing loan from a commercial lender.
MEMBER APPLICATION PROCESSING:
Initially, membership in GCC can be secured by purchasing one $50.00 share and completing the membership application form attached. When the completed application is filed, you will be issued with a temporary membership number. Your number will also be used to establish your place in the queue for choice of units within the complex. Your application will be reviewed by the Membership Committee and a decision will be made on whether your application is successful. If not, you will be informed of the reason for this decision. As part of the application process, the Membership Committee may require additional information such as a credit check, background check and reference checks before considering an application. In the rare case where background information is difficult to access, a face-to-face interview may be requested.
Applications can be obtained by downloading from the website or by contacting Melanie Gallant at: Tel. 506 778 -8591 or firstname.lastname@example.org
We are looking forward to getting our complex underway. We have had initial meetings with potential developers and we are about to make important decisions about financing and design possibilities. With final verification of the site expected soon, we will be able to begin this exciting project. Member input will be sought out at various stages of development. By joining now, you will have the opportunity to involve yourself in this exciting journey.
Note: Please ensure you read Appendix A below to better understand the non-financial benefits of our proposed living complex.
If you need additional information or have questions about Green Cove Co-op, please contact:
Vernon Goodfellow, Board Chairperson
Carol Estey, Membership Committee
Tel.: 506 778-9589
Co-op Living Advantages:
In senior co-operative living facilities, active 55 and older residents own a share of the community with an equal voice in how it’s run. This makes an ideal transition from long-time home ownership to a more maintenance-free life style. In senior co-op facilities you can flourish through active aging and mutual support for the rest of your life if you’re lucky, or at least substantially longer than if you stayed in a conventional house.
- live comfortably while getting the care you need.
- reduce your environmental footprint while improving your quality of life.
- give and receive mutual support to foster independence as you age.
- benefit from social interaction that keeps your brain lively and your spirit nourished.
- age actively by enjoying the beautiful outdoors with its walking trails, parks, river attractions and our planned for community garden.
And you can have a lot of fun along the way! Co-care is an important feature of senior co-op living and one of the main reasons for its success. Co-care in a co-op living community enables people to live independently for many years longer than if they were aging in place in their former homes. Co-care is a model of neighborly mutual support that can help reduce social isolation and promote positive, active aging. It encourages independence through awareness that we are all interdependent. In a co-op community, giving and receiving co-care is entirely voluntary. We may choose to support each other through such activities as doing errands, driving, cooking, or going for a walk with our neighbor. Being good neighbors helps us age well in the community and have fun doing it.
Positive Impact on Residents:
- A comprehensive study on senior co-operative housing found that the majority of residents expressed a positive effect on the following:
- Ease of maintaining living space 93%
- Ability to live independently 84%
- Personal safety 82%
- Life satisfaction 80%
- Access to activities and entertainment 77%
- Happiness 77%
- Amount of contact with friends 77%
- Physical health 63%
This is a holding place for membership.