Ivan Debagheera, owner of TI Enterprises Ltd., wants to the clear the air regarding the tiny homes that he and his family were recently building in downtown Port Hardy.
The homes were being erected in a parking lot on the corner of Granville and Market Street, which was actually not permitted due to the District of Port Hardy’s zoning regulations. After the district discovered what was going on, they sent the property owner a letter in the mail and all work was quickly ceased.
Debagheera, who is friends with the property owner, said they were both “quite surprised” by the letter, as they had no idea what they were doing was contrary to any district bylaw.
He added the owner agreed to let them use the space to build because “rent has become so astronomical, he wanted to help me provide a solution so that younger people can buy a place to live in that’s decent and clean. My whole intention behind the homes was to bring the mayor down, show him what they looked like, and try and see if they could be used as low-income housing, or for the homeless.”
The tiny homes cost $12,000 each, which Debagheera noted is “quite affordable… and once you’ve paid off one unit you can add another one to it. You can put them up outside the city or maybe the city will amend the bylaw to allow them.”
While they aren’t building in the downtown spot anymore and he’s sold all eight tiny homes that were built, Debagheera said he’d like to keep the project going in the future. “I’ve got a few spots here where I can build, but I’m just negotiating with people to see what can be done.”
As for whether the tiny homes meet the BC Building Code minimum CSA Certification, Debagheera stated they are all “CSA approved inside.”
He also added that any youth seen working on the homes were his sons, and they were basically gaining work experience from helping him build the homes, noting that when the family stays in Shearwater and Bella Bella, his sons “operate all kinds of different equipment.”
“The use of the property on Granville and Market Streets for the manufacturing (of tiny homes) is not permitted under our zoning regulation and the work there has ceased,” stated the district’s Director of Corporate Services, Heather Nelson-Smith, when asked to comment on the issue.
“However, if this business were to continue on a property that permits manufacturing they would be permitted to build them with a valid business license… Manufactured homes are permitted in Port Hardy as long as the property is zoned for the placement as well as the manufactured homes must meet the BC Building Code minimum CSA Certification.”