Tiny homes will be part of the solution to Cambridge Bay’s shortfall of places to live, if all goes according to plan.
The Hamlet of Cambridge Bay has been granted federal funding to start a tiny homes pilot program, known as Qaggiq – a place of community renewal and celebration.
It’s currently in the design phase.
Initially, about a dozen tiny homes will be built within the next two years, said Marla Limousin, the hamlet’s senior administrative officer.
Each residence will offer 450 to 500 square feet and will be round, like an iglu.
The idea is to establish a trades training program to hire local people to help
construct and set up the Northern-adapted units, and there’s a possibility of exporting them to other communities by barge in the future, said Limousin.
Cambridge Bay’s community plan envisions a subdivision of 15 to 30 tiny homes further into the future, but more funding will be needed.
The little houses – with a price tag below $200,000 – will help address several issues such as having so many young residents move away because they no longer want to stay with their parents. There are currently few, if any, alternatives for housing, said Limousin.
“They’re going to other communities or staying in the south,” she said of departing young adults. “That’s where (the concept) first started – making an affordable house that they could own and use it as an equity base that they can then sell and build a larger home as they get married and have children.”
There’s also the potential for elders to occupy the modest units, according to Limousin.
“The tiny home could be like the granny-suite behind the family home so they’re close,” she said.
In addition, clients who are prepared to move out of Cambridge Bay’s 16-bed men’s homeless shelter may be eligible to move into a tiny home for a transition period as they continue to gain independence, said Limousin.
There will be an educational component to the program, informing each tiny home owner or occupant what home ownership, management and maintenance comprises.
One of the goals will be to incorporate environmentally friendly technologies such as having wastewater from the sink fill the toilet tank, so water use is reduced, Limousin said by way of potential example.
“The Qaggiq model will offer a new way to see how Inuit-centred spaces can
be created towards communal well-being, an end to overcrowding and hopelessness and a beginning of renewal and independence,” she said.