Local group wants tiny homes

Many tiny homes not allowed under current bylaws

(Tiny House Community BC/Facebook)

With the rising cost of housing, the ‘tiny house’ movement has gained momentum as a potential solution.

Denise Clowater, a member of Affordable Housing Alternatives, presented to Central Saanich council to spread the word.

Clowater said the purpose was to inform the general public about the variety of housing options available.

“We’re trying to find more open-minded options for the 21st century and the reality we’re living in,” said Clowater.

Tiny homes, as defined by the International Code Council, is a maximum of 400 square feet, can exist on a trailer or on a foundation, and are built in a similar method to larger homes. Unlike recreational vehicles or trailers, they are not built from plastics or vinyl.

Affordable Housing Alternatives believes that tiny homes are an affordable way to free up the rental pool since residents are meant to own them.

“I think we need to do some more research, do some more consideration, but there’s a general curiosity about it,” said Councillor Alicia Holman.

While Victoria has made it easier to build garden suites by standardizing the application process and reducing the fee to $200, Holman cautioned that the Official Community Plan of Victoria is different from that of Central Saanich, which necessitates a different solution. In particular, about 60 per cent of Central Saanich is in the Agricultural Land Reserve, and its Official Community Plan encourages development in the villages of Saanichton, Brentwood Bay, and the Keating Business District to limit urban sprawl.

Tiny homes, particularly ones on wheels, are not welcome in many municipalities as they do not meet variety of local bylaws. For example, some designs are not connected to local sewer or power services. Affordable Housing Alternatives is going to each municipality to ask for bylaw updates that consider smaller homes.

Clowater also said that the tiny homes could fit in a rural context, for example, if the residents want to do farm work. This fits into an existing pattern where tiny home residents have agreements with existing property owners and communicate openly.

“We’re all working really hard and being in a larger home sitting by ourselves watching Netflix. We’ve taken away the humanity of togetherness and community.”

Clowater is happy that Affordable Housing Alternatives was invited to be consulted in an upcoming Densification and Infill Study, which Councillor Carl Jensen said council is hoping to get to next year. However, Jensen said by email that timeline “will depend on any other priorities that Council puts in front of [district] staff.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Swim advisory issued at Cadboro Bay beach due to high bacteria levels

Island Health advises against water activities, swimming

UPDATED: Saanich firefighters investigate early morning fire at elementary school

Fire crews remain on scene at Strawberry Vale Elementary

No swimming or skating at Juan de Fuca rec centre for now

The Q Centre to reopen starting on July 13

Saanich councillors scurry to ban rat poisons on municipal properties

A ‘small but important first step’ to protect local wildlife, councillor says

Sidney’s Star Cinema looks to reel in audience with reopening

It’s lights, camera, action — again — for Sidney’s Star Cinema in… Continue reading

VIDEO: Langford cat missing 18 months reunited with family

Blue the cat found at Victoria museum 17 kilometres from home

Shellfish industry get funds to clean up at Island sites and beyond

Businesses can apply to cover half of costs to clean up so-called ‘ghost gear’

BREAKING: Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

B.C. man prepares to be first to receive double-hand transplant in Canada

After the surgery, transplant patients face a long recovery

Grocers appear before MPs to explain decision to cut pandemic pay

Executives from three of Canada’s largest grocery chains have defended their decision to end temporary wage increases

Bringing support to Indigenous students and communities, while fulfilling a dream

Mitacs is a nonprofit organization that operates research and training programs

RCMP ‘disappointed’ by talk that race a factor in quiet Rideau Hall arrest

Corey Hurren, who is from Manitoba, is facing 22 charges

NHL’s Canadian hubs offer little economic benefit, but morale boost is valuable: experts

Games are slated to start Aug. 1 with six Canadian teams qualifying for the 24-team resumption of play

‘Made in the Cowichan Valley’ coming to a wine bottle near you

Cowichan Valley has the honour of being the first sub-GI outside of the Okanagan

Most Read