Take re­cy­cling for granted? The stats be­hind the cir­cu­lar econ­omy’s push to re­duce and re­use will make your head spin

BC Business Magazine - - Contents - By Nathan Cad­dell

don’t need to be razed and re­de­vel­oped with one uni­form ty­pol­ogy,” he says. “We need to keep a bit of what’s there, and we need to be able to add things that are much more di­verse than what we have now. It’s that mix­ing that gives us those re­ally strong neigh­bour­hoods.”

As a re­sult, SHBC part­nered on projects with the cities of Maple Ridge, Nel­son and Van­cou­ver. Maple Ridge and Nel­son had ex­ist­ing reg­u­la­tions for de­tached sec­ondary dwellings, but few home­own­ers were build­ing them.

SHBC helped with re­search and pub­lic outreach that led to both cities in­creas­ing the max­i­mum size of in­fill homes, to 968 square feet and two storeys in Nel­son, and to 15 per­cent of the lot area or 1,500 square feet, whichever is less, in Maple Ridge. The two com­mu­ni­ties also now al­low both a sec­ondary suite and sec­ondary de­tached dwelling (called laneway homes in Nel­son and de­tached gar­den suites in Maple Ridge), for po­ten­tially three res­i­dences per prop­erty.

In Nel­son, the max­i­mum was pre­vi­ously 700 square feet of liv­ing area. “It doesn’t make a lot of fi­nan­cial sense most of the time,” says city plan­ner Alex Thumm, “in terms of what you could get for rent for a place that small but what you’re hav­ing to put into it to build it, be­cause you still have all th­ese fixed costs—the kitchen, the bath­room, the con­nec­tions for util­i­ties.”

SHBC also helped de­velop two pub­li­ca­tions for the home­owner-turned-de­vel­oper who is less fa­mil­iar with city build­ing pro­cesses than de­sign pro­fes­sion­als but wants to build a laneway house for ex­tra in­come or in­ter­gen­er­a­tional liv­ing. Nel­son is con­sid­er­ing pre-ap­proved plans, “likely go­ing through an ar­chi­tec­tural com­pe­ti­tion to choose some high-qual­ity de­signs that can be made avail­able to home­own­ers at a lower cost than com­mis­sion­ing their own de­signs and us­ing that as a way to pro­mote lo­cal de­sign­ers,” Thumm says.

At work­shops and open houses in Maple Ridge, com­mu­nity plan­ner Lisa Zosiak found that peo­ple’s ma­jor in­ter­est was be­ing able to con­struct larger de­tached gar­den suites. “They’re quite a large in­vest­ment,” she points out, and res­i­dents think, “If I’m in­vest­ing in this, what would make it liv­able for me or for the kids?”

The city has lined up three home­own­ers to build de­tached gar­den suites as pi­lot projects, and Small Hous­ing BC is help­ing put to­gether a look book for each. “We do pro­files of each of the prop­erty own­ers, the prop­er­ties, what they’re in­tend­ing to build, to try and give coun­cil and the pub­lic an idea about what th­ese struc­tures will look like and what this will be like in the neigh­bour­hood,” Zosiak says.

As for Van­cou­ver, SHBC di­rec­tor and ur­ban plan­ner Michael Mortensen is do­ing a fea­si­bil­ity study on de­vel­op­ing sin­gle-fam­ily lots that com­bine mar­ket-value and more af­ford­able units at­trac­tive to both home­own­ers and neigh­bours. “We’ve got ex­am­ples, es­pe­cially in the street­car sub­urbs, of types of de­vel­op­ment at higher den­sity that still pre­serve high-qual­ity, leafy, de­sir­able neigh­bour­hoods but ac­com­mo­date more peo­ple,” says Mortensen, who has sug­gested that Van­cou­ver Spe­cials should make a come­back. “This study is look­ing at how can we weave in some per­ma­nently af­ford­able hous­ing as part of that.”

On Novem­ber 17, SHBC is hold­ing a sum­mit in Van­cou­ver for de­ci­sion mak­ers in fields such as con­struc­tion, de­sign, fi­nance, pol­icy and real es­tate. “The whole rea­son for do­ing the sum­mit in the first place is we’re bring­ing Maple Ridge, Nel­son and Van­cou­ver to­gether to say, this is what we did, this is what we learned, this is what’s next for us,” project man­ager Koutal­ianos says. “And lever­age the room at the end [of the event] and be like, what’s next now for B.C.?”

When Sab­rina Cham­mas Doumet was one, her par­ents took a look around their war-torn home­town of Beirut and made sure she could in­herit their Cana­dian cit­i­zen­ship. The move came in handy af­ter Doumet de­cided to go to school in the U.S. She se­cured a stu­dent visa to study film pro­duc­tion in L.A. but couldn't par­lay it into per­ma­nent res­i­dency. Al­though Doumet moved to Hol­ly­wood North with dreams of helm­ing films, her state­side ex­pe­ri­ence work­ing as a free­lancer in shared spa­ces in­spired her to open L'ate­lier Cowork­ing two years ago. Be­sides run­ning the busi­ness in Van­cou­ver's Gas­town, she still moon­lights as a videographer and has launched her own line of jour­nals.

9 a.m.

Doumet is hardly ever the first per­son to ar­rive at L'ate­lier –many clients have their own keys, and the of­fice is open 24 hours–but once she gets in, she checks that the fridge is clean and stocked. To “keep things in­ter­est­ing,” she's de­cided to pro­vide snacks ev­ery Mon­day. On this Septem­ber morn­ing, the choice is sliced ap­ples and peanut but­ter.

10:30 a.m.

L'ate­lier has two sec­tions: per­ma­nent desks and stor­age space for mem­bers who pay a $450 monthly fee, and so­called hot desks for those who want to drop in. When we catch up with Doumet, she has three per­ma­nent spots up for grabs and is field­ing tours for those in­ter­ested. “When I opened, I had to try and get peo­ple to visit and jus­tify why some­one needs a co-work­ing space when they could just work from home,” she says of the 50-desk oper­a­tion. “I don't do any ad­ver­tis­ing any more. Peo­ple find it through Google and book a tour.”

Such pop­u­lar­ity comes with caveats– Doumet has al­ready fielded a call to­day from a friend about a new com­peti­tor's rents. “I think Gas­town has the most con­cen­tra­tion of co-work­ing spots in the city,” she says.


Al­though Doumet en­cour­ages clients to use L’ate­lier’s fridge for all their food prepa­ra­tion needs, some­times she suc­cumbs to the temp­ta­tions the city of­fers. She di­als up Uber Eats to de­liver a treat from Le­banese bak­ery Manoush’eh in Yale­town. Doumet’s re­view: “It’s de­li­cious and re­minds me of be­ing home.”

2 p.m.

L'ate­lier's in­hab­i­tants of­ten work along­side each other, lit­er­ally and fig­u­ra­tively. That's the case to­day: Kate Bouchard, founder of Van­cou­ver­based mar­ket­ing agency Ar­ma­ture Col­lec­tive, oc­cu­pies a hot desk be­fore meet­ing with Doumet in one of three con­fer­ence rooms. Doumet does free­lance video work for Ar­ma­ture, and they dis­cuss how best to pro­duce a mar­ket­ing cam­paign for a health­care client.

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