A Regional District of Nanaimo director wants the RDN to look at tiny homes as a way of addressing the shortage of affordable housing.
Area B (Gabriola, DeCourcy, Mudge Islands) Vanessa Craig made a motion before the Electoral Area Services Committee that staff prepare a report that outlines the current status of the legality of people living in tiny homes — with and without wheels — in the RDN; provides information about the approach of other local governments to tiny homes; and identifies potential actions that could facilitate making living in a tiny home legal.
Craig indicated the latest report released by BC Housing highlighted the widening gap between the cost of housing and income. She hopes her motion will spark a discussion on how the RDN can open up to innovative housing types.
“Part of the potential for a tiny home is that it would give people the opportunity for home ownership and stability,” said Craig. “Some people are interested in them for kind of the ecological footprint because it is possible to perhaps live in it more simply or to address the temporary housing need.”
BC Housing conducted research on tiny homes and whether the form of housing could work in B.C. Tiny houses are defined as permanent, ground-oriented dwellings that are detached, movable, non-motorized, under 500 square feet and tailored to a compact design. Such homes, the research found, are well-suited for people from many walks of life.
Craig said it’s a rapidly evolving issue.
“It talks about addressing this missing middle which is the kind of, home affordability and rental housing,” said Craig. “The focus of my motion is to ask for more information from staff so we can all be kind of on the same page and going forward to help us use it for for discussion. So how can we create a diverse, sustainable neighbourhoods? How can we be innovative and also meet the requirements for safety, health and environmental standards.”
Craig wanted to clarify that she’s not talking about RVs because she mentioned wheels in her motion.
“I am talking about something that’s specifically built for year-round living and it’s to a more robust standard,” said Craig, who wanted to know from staff what the barriers to people living in a tiny home in the regional district. She believes part of the issue would be building code.
Craig’s motion received the support of the Electoral Areas Committee and will now be brought to the RDN board for endorsement.
Electoral Area H (Bowser, Qualicum Bay, Deep Bay) director Stuart McLean supported the motion and wants to know more.
“There’s definitely a lack of housing all across our region and you know it’s becoming dire,” said MacLean. “There used to be starter homes that people could afford. Those don’t exist anymore. Either you can buy a house or you can’t.”