Our History

Cottonwood Creek Community,
[C.C.C.] April/2016


After 25 years of offering AFFORDABLE ACCOMMODATION to Nelson and area residents, what have we got to say for ourselves?

When you think about building a home, it becomes a personal story. When you build a tower, it becomes a symbol of a journey of many stories. Stories of strength, heart break, determination, passion, tenacity, grit and group endeavor!
This story begins 85 years ago, 150 miles Northwest of Edmonton, Alberta in 1928-29. It begins at a time when a father and his family needed help. Eric Haden [born in Sweden] stepped up, a farmer, a man of his time and with his own hands, built a house on his farm for this family. He gave it to Dr. Barrow [born in Madras, India] and his family!
Joan A. Hutchison, nee Barrow [born in Edmonton] worked on that farm for many years, learning from Eric the care of the land, till she married my father Bill Hutchison [born in Ottawa].
That great act of generosity by Eric, during the Great Depression begins this story.
CCC is my third attempt for such a dream. My deep thanks to the many mentors and supportive folks, who supported our initial steps to begin this project. With the hands on skills that are important for such an undertaking and sound advice from Marian Jackson Wylie [born in Ontario/Edmonton], who said; “ You will need 10 Units Hutch. in order to break even.” A new beginning was possible. Then my daughter Petal [born in Edmonton] gave me the inspiration to purchase the level land from Doc. Pearson [of Saskatchewan].
This introduction now sets the stage for the next ¼ century!
In 1990, located at 2428 Ymir Rd. just outside of Nelson BC. we started with a vegetable garden with over 50 years of cultivated tending. We had a house, a garage and carport, and a contractor’s storage shed. We parked a trailer in that shed and that lady was our first Resident. By the next year we had built Unit A from out of that contractor’s shed. Every 2½ years with the help of over 40 Nelsonites we have managed to build 8 Units, we are now finishing our 9th Unit [As determined by the Sewage Treatment Plant and soil capacity of this property].

Out of care for the land and her peoples we have undertaken to Reuse, Recycle and create a Barrier Free Living Environment. Our Past prepares us for our Present. On this ¾ acre parcel of land where every square foot of this land has been made safe with human endeavor and engineering, we have built a Tower. All four sides of the property have had it’s earth and rockwork completed with intention. Every square foot of lawn has been designed to accommodate beauty, drainage and in the back yard, cover for our Geo-thermal heating pit. Our Root Cellar can hold the produce harvested from the gardens by gardeners planting with intention. The sustainable Compost program is supplied from the vegetation harvested from every available square foot of collectable area, about a 1/5 of the yard space. Along Cottonwood Creek we have a Riparian Eco System, 35 feet wide.
We built this Tower as an example to inspire ourselves to greater deeds. We lifted the 1940 residence to the fourth story in keeping with our Reuse and Recycle philosophy. Stefan Schwabe [born in Switzerland] under took the tasks to bring that residence up to 2008 building code and prefabricate two more residences underneath!
Our Tower has a design feature up the front of the building that leads to Unit B, where a person can stand atop a conscious creation. This design and structure is due to the attention of Architect, Dr. Michael Karassowitsch [born in Canada]. This tower is a symbol of awakening to action. We have demonstrated that we can sustain and improve that what we care for and place materials into the stream of commerce.

Our Present prepares us for our Future. When we can pause and take time to adapt the plan of a building into an allegory then we have taped the power of human potential. When we can pause and plan for moral action, intellectual action and spirit in action, then the possibilities become boundless. Each building at CCC is a canvas to depict a representation of one’s own inner development. The gardens depict one’s heart’s path through Will in Action. How we talk and share with each other is the lifeblood of a community. Communication is to the Social Sphere, what life is to Nature, as Consciousness is to humans. When the conversation is complete, comprehensible and honest we have the glue of empathy.
Our Recycle room is the heart of working together! This space has been created for the purpose of shared economic experience so we can return what we own into the Economic Sphere. We invite folks who live here to be active. Dig in the garden. Place the harvest in the Root cellar! This is self-development. This means self-education. This means self-training, even self-knowledge. This means thoughtful action, fully focused on the needs of the other.
At CCC we are working towards sustainability, with the intention of appropriate accommodation and restoring the land on which we live and serve. We are creating a significant experience based learning environment. Last year we completed an Internet installation with Extreme capacity. Through this investment we have access to On-line Education, Employment and Entertainment. Computers are available for first time users.
Part of our dream is to build the second tower, a polarity of sorts. It is to balance the appearance of the property and to hold the image of cooperation between individuals. The two towers would stand with the gesture of embrace. Several of the buildings now in use would then become art studios and working spaces for the Residents.
Our most recent step towards the future is the decision to remodel a 23 foot Motor Home. Residents at CCC are invited to learn the skills to Reimagine new living spaces. We are Repurposing this structure. We all learn best in a group setting. Thus there will be a sense of co-creating around this project as ‘Unit I’ becomes part of our living space on our grounds by the creek.
Then the Question arises, should we imagine another Remake, Remodel?

What did you dream to be when you were a child? Was it to build and provide affordable accommodation for folks? Was it to be part of Reimagining new types of living spaces?
Did we dream to support new ways of working and sharing in an economy soon to be dominated by new deeds. Are we ready for a robotic employment situation requiring new skills and new tasks? Our Tower’s motif of the uplifted human reflects our social motif at CCC. We share physical work, care of the other through thoughtful steps. At CCC we have Private monies [Residents’ and Owners’] forming a conception of what the private sector can do with folks working together! We are creating a healthy overlap with the public sector’s expressed intention towards social housing. At Cottonwood Creek Community we have done what needs to be done.
Please visit us at www.CottonwoodC.Ca . If you share our interest, intentionality and passion visit us.

Barrow Hutchison [born in Edmonton]
B.Sc. Agric., B.A. Waldorf Ed., Master Special Education, A.F. & A.M.

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