The mayor of Okotoks says a tiny-house village approved for the town will go a long way towards providing affordable housing while reducing the community’s environmental footprint.
Okotoks town council approved the development of the first phase of the “eco-village” Monday by a vote of 5-2. Phase 1 includes 42 affordable-rental units, market-rate rentals, short-term vacation rental units and homes for purchase, scheduled to be built by 2021.
“It’s pretty groundbreaking for this region, certainly for the town of Okotoks, and it’s one step closer to meeting our affordable-housing goals,” Mayor Bill Robertson said Tuesday.
In February, town council approved the conceptual design for the Homestead Project. Now that the development is approved, a 50-year lease agreement with Realize Communities is being drawn up by city administration to outline clauses ensuring the town retains ownership of the land, taxpayers won’t be on the hook for financial obligations not met by the lease and profits will be reinvested into the village or Okotoks community. Realize Communities will be responsible for developing and managing the eco-village.
“Success would be, within the first build-out by 2021, all 42 places would be fully occupied,” said Robertson. The rollout for the next two phases will take place over the next decade as the whole four-hectare parcel of land in the D’Arcy development is dedicated to this project.
Coun. Tanya Thorn, one of two dissenters of the Homestead Project, believes there are better ways to achieve affordable-housing goals without having taxpayers take on the $4.26-million price tag.
“I think it’s the wrong decision for our community right now,” said Thorn.
“I don’t see how this will be duplicatable.”
The village will be equipped with solar panels, personal gardens and a community garden to reduce residents’ environmental footprint. The energy-efficient homes should also reduce water consumption, gas and electrical usage, as the homes are only about 350 to 550 square feet.
“Okotoks has become known as a green community, very environmentally sustainable, and this is one more piece to that puzzle,” said Robertson.
The town will be turning to the community to develop a strategy for active participation and selecting a formal name for the eco-village.
Read the full original article from Calgary Herald here.