Daniel Franklin may not have garnered enough votes in the municipal election to gain a seat in Campbell River council chambers, but he brought his message there this week, anyway.
Franklin’s main platform during the election was solving the housing affordability problem in the community, and he says whether or not he’s helping make decisions at city hall, it should be the city’s priority, as well.
And the solution, he says, is to think smaller.
If the city were to make it easier for people to build smaller houses on smaller lots, it would be a boon for the community as a whole, Franklin says, pointing to other communities around B.C. that have incentivized the construction of “tiny homes” to alleviate many of the problems that arise due to – or are exacerbated by – housing affordability issues.
“Is council committed to helping its constituents realize the dream of affordable housing for young families, seniors and the homeless?” Franklin asked rehetorically Monday night.
Whether the homes are on wheels or on a foundation, Franklin says, the incorporation of tiny homes and “alternate living solutions” such as yurts, RVs, and container homes within a community opens up the housing market to more people.
Having home ownership options at a lower price point, Franklin says, not only allows for more people to get into home ownership, but also allows for more mobility within the market.
“Tiny homes allow people to live the way they want to,” Franklin says. “It allows them the option to spend less on their homes to have more disposable income available to spend in this community. It gives people the option to build smaller homes, using fewer materials, meaning they are building with less environmental impact.
“Some people don’t need a lot of space, but they also want to own where they live – both land and building.”
It will also alleviate the pressure on the rental market, he says.
“Rentals are getting more and more expensive and they are getting harder to find,” he says, but many who would otherwise rent may be able to purchase if there were less expensive options, which would open up the rental market.
“There are (also) many people living in homes that are bigger than they need or want. This would release the bigger homes into the market for other people to buy.”
Tiny home options could also help the senior population of the community, especially if the homes were allowed to be placed on lots that already have detached homes on them. That way seniors could move onto their family’s property, for example. Alternatively, “seniors communities” could be created using the small units, allowing for seniors to retain their independence while allowing them to own homes “on a smaller and more manageable scale.”
Franklin holds up Tofino and Grand Forks as two examples of communities in B.C. that have already embraced the tiny home model as part of the remedy to their housing issues and encourages Campbell River city council to do the same by changing zoning restrictions to allow for easier subdivision of residential lots, increasing taxation on vacant land to incentivise its use or by offering up city land for tiny homes to be built on.
Mayor Andy Adams thanked Franklin for his dedication to this cause, and points out the city is already incorporating the idea of making smaller houses part of its future through the review of its zoning bylaws that is currently underway.
“This year there is the directive from council to senior staff to finally complete the realignment of the city’s zoning bylaws to the Sustainable Official Community Plan, which will look at all the types of housing options, from tiny to affordable to social to estate lots to multi-unit subdivisions,” Adams says. “I’m glad you mentioned Tofino, because I’m going to be meeting with Mayor Josie Osborne this Friday morning at Island Coast Economic Trust and I will pick her brain in terms of how far they’ve gone and where they’re at.
“We will keep our eyes open and ears open and see what options are open to us.”