At the April 2 Council in Committee meeting, members listened to a delegation aimed at changing zoning by-laws to facilitate the construction of Tiny Homes. The delegation was made by Pat Scott, owner and Broker of Record at Queenswood National Real Estate Ltd. (pictured above) She commenced by saying that the Tiny Homes movement is a reality, noting that she encounters clients weekly that would like to build such a home in the municipality. Currently, this is impossible without re-zoning.
Scott pointed to existing municipalities that allow Tiny Homes, saying that MV is
… surrounded by municipalities that have already adopted Tiny Homes: South Algonquin and Hasting Highlands. So I think we’re getting left behind. The last thing I want to do is take my clients to some other municipality to sell them property.
She emphasized that she referred to Tiny Homes as a permanent structure, not a mobile home. She said the minimalist and affordability aspect of the smaller footprint appealed to young families without hundreds of thousands of dollars and also to retirees living on fixed incomes. Her presentation concluded with a reminder that the last election let people know that “Madawaska Valley is open for business.” She said MV should not close the door and say just because you want to live a different lifestyle we don’t want you.
Silas Lorbetski, Manager of Planning, Development & Licensing, said MV’s current restriction on the size of homes is 592 sqft. He said that the three other municipalities mentioned are different from MV and reminded Council that the Renfrew County Official Plan is not yet fully approved. CAO/Clerk Sue Klatt said Mayor Love, who was not present, thought Tiny Homes could be dealt with when Council looked at the topic of secondary dwellings.
Photo: Barry’s Bay Tiny Homes
After Council’s discussion, Acting Mayor David Shulist invited comment from Joe Wills, owner of Barry’s Bay Tiny Homes and Trailers. Wills said,
I actually build tiny homes. There’s a huge economic opportunity for the county for this as well because of the local business impact, job creation, I’ve done my own studies on it. I have literally daily people contact me from all over Canada and they’re jumping at the chance to move to any community that allows this stuff. So there’s a lot of impact that can come from that [not to mention] the tax base obviously…. There’s a huge amount of people interest in that. I think we are missing the boat on that.