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The Western Rocky View Communities Development Society, commonly called Communities Development Society (CDS), originated in 2001 as a Family & Community Support Services (FCSS) Rocky View County funded pilot project.  Originally administered through the Town of Cochrane, the Society became a separate charitable not-for-profit society in July 30, 2004.

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Most of CDS’s early work focused on research and experimentation, learning about the rural communities of the western County. The Society took a defining path in 2005 when they participated in a seniors' resiliency project hosted by the Kerby Centre of Excellence in cooperation with the University of Calgary.  

Following their lead of senior led facilitation, CDS conducted seven focus groups with over 80 rural seniors to gain a rural perspective on resiliency. This was a particularly relevant concern due to the rapid growth pressures occurring within the Calgary area and the impacts on the rural social infrastructure. 

As a result of these focus groups seven consistent themes emerged as areas of concern for rural seniors to remain in their rural communities:  transportation, housing, safety, health, communication, preservation of the environment and of local history.  The concern for the environment and local history were areas not previously identified within Kerby’s study and marked the rural point of view as unique to preserving the rural way of life.

 Following the release of the focus group results and a request from the Bearspaw Lions Club to explore housing as the number “one” issue to tackle, a Rural Seniors' Housing Task Force was struck in early 2006.  They began the conversation of a senior-led and driven eco-housing community that reflected their rural values and allowed them to downsize in a community of caring for one another.  

 

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