"Mini" Houses Piloted In Victoria
LANGFORD – For little Jiyan Rupf, the trip to Grandma’s house to get started on the Halloween pumpkins Thursday takes about 15 seconds. It’s an arrangement that works out for three generations of the South African family just fine.
“We’re independent, we can come and go as we please, and see our grandchildren regularly” says Magdal Rupf. “It suits them to live there and suits me because I don’t have to send my kids to daycare” says her son Rohan.
Rohan, his wife, and the kids live in the main house on the property, and his parents are in a detached suite above the garage. It’s part of the Parkdale Creek development at Westhills. The company says this ‘carriage house’ style of suites has proven extremely popular.
Now the trend has arrived in Victoria. The City is launching a “garden suite” pilot program. Basically, if you’ve got a big backyard, or a garage or other structure you don’t use, you can apply to build what amounts to a little house, either by converting an existing building or building from scratch.
A homeowner on Rutledge Street is the first to apply for a rezoning application to build a 450 square foot suite behind his home, which will be sent to public hearing. The Mayor says thousands of people could follow. “Potentially right now I’m told there are 7200 structures that could be looked at for this” says Dean Fortin.
The City is hopeful the pilot program can create more affordable housing, but wants to hear from homeowners and others in the community about what they like about the idea and what they don’t at an open house Wednesday October 20th. “We’re inviting people down to come talk about this and see what potential this holds.”