Tiny homes popular but not yet legal in most of Greater Victoria

Tiny House Showcase set for Aug. 27 in North Saanich

(Tiny House Community BC/Facebook)

Tim Collins

News staff

An event organized by the recently-formed Affordable Housing Alternatives advocacy group hopes to educate people about the benefits of tiny houses.

This despite the fact that, should you choose to build a tiny home of your own, you may find it difficult to find anywhere to park it. Zoning regulations prohibit this sort of structure from occupying land within any of the Saanich Peninsula communities, or for that matter, anywhere in Greater Victoria.

But the tiny house movement began more than a decade ago and it appears this particular approach to minimalist living isn’t destined to go away any time soon.

Karen Kehler, one of the groups founders and spokesperson, said the group plans to actively promote the concept of the tiny living spaces to politicians on the peninsula and beyond.

“As far as we know there’s currently no municipality that would allow a tiny home on wheels to be situated anywhere in the Greater Victoria area. They just aren’t accepted or understood,” said Kehler.

She explained that the attraction of a tiny home is first and foremost the cost.

“If you build it yourself, depending on the size and how fancy you want it, you could have one for as little as $30,000. Of course there are some bigger ones that, if you had a professional builder build it for you could run up to $100,000,” she said Kehler.

The homes being advocated by Kehler’s group are typically built on trailer frames ranging in length from 16 to 30 feet. The width of the dwellings is generally about 9 feet.

“The one I have is 320 square feet with another 100 square feet in a loft area,” said Kehler.

That home, which is currently under construction will be on display at the Tiny House Showcase being sponsored by Affordable Housing Alternatives on Sunday, August 27 from 1 pm to 4 pm at 9800 McDonald Park Road in North Saanich. The display will also include a completed home.

Kehler admits that she may have jumped the gun a bit in getting her tiny home built considering the current bylaw situation but insists that she will find a place to put the home when the time comes.

“I realize these homes aren’t for everyone, and I hope the by-laws change. It’s what we’re working for with our group. I’ve been a law-abiding person my whole life and I don’t want to have to hide just because of my choice of home.”

Saanich Councillor, Fred Haynes is sympathetic to Kehler’s concerns and said that municipalities need to be more creative and nimble in their approach if they are to respond to the crisis of housing affecting many communities.

“I’m one hundred per cent in support of the tiny home movement. In fact I believe those who say that decreasing the size of your house can increase the size of your life.

“Maybe we should be calling this the bigger life movement,” said Haynes.

editor@peninsulanewsreview.com

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