Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

TALKING TINY HOMES – City planner Ben Campbell and Melodie Simard, the city’s planning and sustainability manager, discuss the tiny houses Monday evening with members of city council.

Decision pending on tiny house development

It’s expected to be clear next Monday whether a proposed five-unit tiny house development at Jarvis Street and Sixth Avenue can go ahead with the five units as planned.

By Stephanie Waddell on January 24, 2018

It’s expected to be clear next Monday whether a proposed five-unit tiny house development at Jarvis Street and Sixth Avenue can go ahead with the five units as planned.

City planner Ben Campbell brought forward a recommendation to allow the zoning amendment for the five units to council at its meeting Monday evening.

The Blood Ties Four Directions Centre is proposing the supportive housing project. It plans to go ahead with four units currently permitted if the zoning amendment for five units is not granted.

At an earlier council meeting, Patricia Bacon, Blood Ties’ executive director, presented the plans to the city. She highlighted the group’s history operating the 240-square-foot Steve Cardiff House downtown.

Under that program, one Blood Ties client per year lived in the tiny home and accessed programming.

The endeavour ended in 2016, when the owners of the lot where the house sat decided to move ahead with their own plans for the site.

The Steve Cardiff House has since been in storage, but would be moved to the site as one of the homes for the project.

The new housing initiative would not have the one-year time limit that the previous program did.

As Bacon explained, the group learned from its experience with the house that it was better to not put a time limit on how long clients can live in the home.

Rather, the best way to support clients is not to set a time limit as long as the resident is continuing to work on his or her program. Rent will be based on income.

During a public hearing last week, council heard from two delegates who spoke in favour of the project.

There were also nine letters that either expressed support or took no issue with it; another two expressing support while also outlining some concerns and six who were opposed or had concerns.

Those in support pointed to the need for supportive housing for vulnerable people in the city; the public benefit of it; and the diversity of housing it would contribute to the downtown area while also in keeping with the character of the Old Town area.

Supporters also noted the project aligns with numerous plans that propose greater density and additional housing.

On the other hand, concerns around the project argued against increasing the density of Old Town.

They pointed to the possibility of the lot being sold to another owner with the new zoning provisions.

They also argued there was a lack of a details on the development, and that the bylaw shouldn’t be amended when the downtown plan is under review.

It was also argued that the requirement for secured bicycle storage shouldn’t be waived as Blood Ties is requesting. However, Campbell noted the city is recommending the requirement remain in place.

“Administration agrees that Class 1 bicycle parking should be required for the development as it provides an amenity for tenants and reduces the proliferation of bicycles and household goods outdoors,” Campbell stated in his report to council.

“Administration recommends that Class 1 bicycle parking be required.”

Coun. Dan Boyd also noted he had heard from residents concerned about the number of dogs the tenants could have.

Melodie Simard is the city’s planning and sustainability manager.

While city bylaws allow for two dogs per unit or three with a special permit, Simard said, Blood Ties has already indicated tenants will not be allowed to have dogs.

Council will vote on the zoning change next week.

Coun. Samson Hartland was absent from Monday’s meeting.

Comments (7)

Up 11 Down 0

north_of_60 on Jan 25, 2018 at 2:06 pm

It's a foolish idea to park fancy, overpriced trailers on a downtown lot. A multi-unit building would be less expensive to build, far more efficient, and much lower cost to operate. This is just another example of the silly virtue signaling that's encouraged by the city’s planning and 'sustainability' department.

Up 9 Down 0

ProScience Greenie on Jan 25, 2018 at 12:23 pm

Tiny homes should also mean cheap homes but that is not the case here as all the players in the tiny home game are feeding from the gravy train and stroking each other's egos.

If you want to see tiny homes that got the job done just look at any Jim Robb or Ted Harrison painting.

Up 1 Down 8

Smaller compact housing is the real name for them on Jan 25, 2018 at 9:51 am

City of Whitehorse should support this work.

Up 1 Down 7

BnR on Jan 25, 2018 at 7:16 am

And where's Samson? Ah yes, in Vancouver working for his mining masters. When forced to choose between Whitehorse residents and the mining company's, we lose every time.
Councillors pay should reflect the percentage of meetings they attend.

Up 8 Down 0

Josey Wales on Jan 24, 2018 at 8:20 pm

Special interest doesn’t like dogs eh?
One more in the list of reasons this project sucks.
Well my dogs do not like socialists, and they are not welcome in their yard either...come to think of it.

Up 8 Down 0

joe on Jan 24, 2018 at 4:18 pm

Hey, I want to put five tiny houses on my Mt. Sima lot !!

Up 4 Down 3

Matt on Jan 24, 2018 at 4:05 pm

The only real concern....will this cut into realtors profits?

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