Fonds - Assiniboia Community Housing Cooperative fonds

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Assiniboia Community Housing Cooperative fonds

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  • Textual record

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  • 1966-1990 (Creation)
    Creator
    Assiniboia Community Housing Cooperative

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2.42 m of textual records

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Biographical history

The Assiniboia Community Housing Cooperative (ACHC) began its existence known as Campus Co-operative Association in March of 1967. Its initiative at that time was to provide low-cost housing to students at the University of Alberta, in a time before HUB, Lister Hall, or Michener Park were completed. In September of 1967, the University’s Board of Governors, whose task it was to oversee University-owned properties, rented six houses to the fledgling organization in the North Garneau area. By the early 1970’s, the Co-op reached its membership peak of about 65 members, and purchased their first house in the Strathcona area. A second home was purchased in 1973 in Parkallen. Using a ‘capital loan’ system where members ‘loaned’ the Co-op $25 each upon taking out membership, monies were collected for initial down payments on homes. A ‘capital levy’ plan was later introduced whereby the Co-op charged a capital levy per member, on top of the monthly housing charge, as a means of raising capital for the expansion of the Co-op and for meeting maintenance costs on existing properties. In the early 1970’s, as well, the Co-op obtained a further four rented houses from the City of Edmonton. Original University-owned houses were occasionally demolished in the North Garneau neighbourhood, and the Co-op received other houses in replacement. A few other houses were rented from private landlords and by the summer of 1973, there were twelve houses in the Campus Co-operative Association. In 1977 the Campus Co-operative Association was dissolved by the Co-op Development Branch of the Alberta Department of Consumer and Corporate body Affairs for failing to submit an audit form on time. A new set of by-laws and a policy manual were developed and the Co-op was reinCorporate bodyd on September 27, 1978 as the Campus Co-operative Association (1977). By 1981, the new name of Assiniboia Community Housing Cooperative was chosen to reflect a shift away from a majority student membership which prevailed at its inception in 1967. Membership in the houses was open to anyone accepted by the members of a Co-op household, and subsequently approved by the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors consisted of four executive members elected at semi-annual general meetings, and of one house representative from each house; board meetings were held monthly, and were open to the general membership to attend. Various committees were established to deal with specific matters, and members were expected to work on a committee or do some other specified work for the Cooperative. Members also shared cooking and other house chores. Membership criteria evolved over time to accept both student and non-student membership, and houses were co-ed. In 1986, the AHCC owned five houses and ceased leasing property from the University. While the records in the fonds go only to 1990, the Assiniboia Community Housing Cooperative continues to function. They are a listed entry in the University of Alberta’s Student Union Housing Registry (as of 2006), and advertise three houses available in the Cooperative.

Custodial history

The records remained in the possession their donor, Richard Graham, until their donation to the University of Alberta Archives.

Scope and content

The Assiniboia Community Housing Cooperative (ACHC) fonds document the history and function of the Cooperative, and its predecessor, the Campus Co-operative Association. The records span the years from the inception of the Co-operative in 1967, through its existence 21 years later when the records to that date were deposited with the University of Alberta Archives.

The records, largely textual, required a fair amount of sorting when received at the Archives. Papers were removed from binders, and duplicate records disposed. There was a lot of duplication of records, as individual executive members along with each ‘house’ in the Cooperative maintained a set of minutes, audited financial statements, policies and procedures manuals, along with forms for completing maintenance checks and house inventories. As well, the collection was weeded of financial ephemera (invoices, returned cheques, bills, etc) since summary financial records existed. An original listing provided by a then member of the ACHC aided the arrangement and description process.

The records have been sorted into ten series, including: the Cooperative Movement; Executive Committee Records; Minutes (Board and General); Financial Records; Membership Records, Property Management Records; Property Expansion Records; Legal Advice Records; Historic Records; and the Newsletter (The Cooper). Some of the series are very small, while others like the Financial records series and Property Management records series are necessarily arranged into sub-series to better organize the material. There is a complete set of minutes from the 1960s through to January of 1987. Membership records are particularly complete for the mid-1970s to the early 1980s; earlier membership records, particularly for the 1960s, are sketchier. The records are in good physical shape.

The Assiniboia Community Housing Cooperative records reflect an interesting alternative to standard student housing arrangements available on the University of Alberta campus in the mid-1960’s. It was, writes Rod Olstad in a 1988 Gateway article, “the first organized, yet unofficial, co-ed housing at the U of A.” Principles of democracy were essential to the Cooperative, with their elected executive, membership votes on all matters of house policy and operation, and safeguards to protect individual members from potential financial liability, etc. Co-op members were instrumental in lobbying the University in 1973 to abandon plans to demolish much of the low-cost housing in the North Garneau neighbourhood, demanding instead that this housing be retained and renovated to ensure that low-cost, alternative housing was available for students.

The ACHC records can also be viewed as a part of the larger national Co-operative housing movement emerging in the same period. The unique living arrangement that is the Cooperative, with its accompanying problems and triumphs, is well documented in these records.

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Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

The Assiniboia Community Housing Cooperative records were donated to the University of Alberta Archives in July 1988 by Richard Graham, a former member of the Housing Cooperative. Two additional audited financial statements for 1989 and 1990 were subsequently added to the fonds.

Arrangement

The fonds consists of the following series:

  1. Cooperative Movement
  2. Executive Committee Records
  3. Minutes: Board and General
  4. Financial Records
  5. Membership Records
  6. Property Management Records
  7. Property: Purchases/Expansion
  8. Legal Records, Advice and Issues
  9. Historic Records
  10. Newsletter

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There are no access restrictions on these records.

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Preferred Citation

Please note the following example for citation purposes:

"Membership: Financial Membership reports," 1978, 88-76 Box 3, File 111, Assiniboia Community Housing Cooperative Fonds, University of Alberta Archives.

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Created by MMCFARLANE 12-5-2007. Updated by MACS 2-5-2009. Updated by M.Fraser on 26 March 2020.

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