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A proposed enclave of tiny homes is moving down the yellow brick road after an outsized reaction from Okotoks residents.
On Monday, Okotoks town council voted in favour of a new site for a planned tiny homes eco-village, which came under fire last month for its original location at Kinsmen Park in the middle of the town south of Calgary.
The wee community, dubbed Sagebrush Social Praxis Society, will now look at setting up stakes on a portion of municipally owned land in D’Arcy Ranch, on the western edge the 30,000-strong municipality.
Dawn Smith, Okotoks’ environment and sustainability co-ordinator, said given the backlash from those living near Kinsmen Park, the town realized it needed to shift gears and find a less controversial location.
“People who lived there were upset, especially those who purchased homes backing onto park space,” she said.
“We weren’t surprised this backlash came up. It wasn’t the ideal space — it’s never good to lose park space.”
The initiative, which would partner with Calgary-based Vagabond Tiny Homes and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.’s Affordable Rental Innovation Fund, aims to build a mixed community of 32 affordable housing rental units, market-rate rental units, and short-term vacation rental units with a shared central hub with communal kitchen, dining, storage and meeting facilities.
Interest generated from its initial announcement has prompted a growing demand from prospective owners of tiny homes, and Smith said an updated plan would add another 10 homes available for purchase in addition to the originally planned rental units.
Concern over loss of green space and impact on property values sparked a nearly 200-signature petition opposing the plan at its original Kinsmen Park location, while a public survey conducted by the town found 31 per cent opposed to the project and another 29 per cent hesitant to support it without seeing further details about the proposal.
Smith said the new location would be preferable as it would be among the first projects on the property, and would be in place as the rest of the area ultimately develops around it.
In a statement, Mayor Bill Robertson said the new location creates an opportunity to keep the project alive.
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