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Delta family pushes alternative idea to deal with housing crisis

Last Updated Aug 26, 2019 at 11:06 am PDT


A Delta family has a one-of-a-kind housing development it hopes can help with the housing crisis

The Higgins family has torn down its family rancher and built four separate homes on the same lot

DELTA (NEWS 1130) – It’s a one-of-a-kind housing development and there’s hope it could help deal with the issue of housing affordability around Metro Vancouver.

A family in Delta has torn down their rancher and now moved into four small homes — all on the same lot.

Kathleen Higgins says three of her adult children now own a home, and get to live in the neighbourhood they grew up in.

“We didn’t do it to make a profit, we did it to pass on land to our kids so that they wouldn’t end up in a box in the sky or a basement apartment, which are the only options for young people right now,” she tells NEWS 1130. “Our goal is to make it happen all over Metro Vancouver, as an alternative to townhouses and condos.”

The four small homes have separate titles and mortgages, and can be owned individually. Higgins says the density allows them to downsize and stay in the same neighbourhood, while their kids can move into the other small homes on the lot.

On the left, a model shows the four houses that have been built in the place of the Higgins family rancher. On the right hand side of the model is what the family’s rancher used to look like. (Tim James, NEWS 1130 Photo)

“I’m not saying condos are bad, I’m not saying townhouses are bad, I’m just saying [this] give us more options,” she says.

When it was presented to the community, she says there was a lot of support.

“When we had our public hearing to see whether this would fly, only one person showed up to oppose it, and actually the person across the street from us wrote in in favour, the person three doors down on this street wrote in favour, and the person who came to oppose it didn’t really know, he didn’t really understand the concept.”

However, she notes that after the man was shown a model and further explained what the concept would entail, he eventually came around.

“But there were young people at the public hearing who spoke up in favour of it,” Higgins added.

Higgins, who ran for council, says the idea came to her family over a decade ago. However, it wasn’t until January of 2016 that Delta city council voted to allow this type of development to move forward.

Since that time, Higgins says she and her husband have been working to make it easier for others to build similar properties.