Kitchener-Waterloo

Cambridge showcases tiny home prototype as possible solution to rising population

A tiny home prototype has been set up at Cambridge city hall until the end of November, in partnership with the University of Waterloo's School of Architecture, so residents can imagine how the city may tackle its forecasted rise in population.

A city official said that it's not meant to address homelessness locally

The tiny home prototype is set up at the Cambridge Ont., city hall. (James Chaarani/CBC)

A tiny home prototype has been set up at Cambridge city hall until the end of November, in partnership with the University of Waterloo's School of Architecture, so residents can imagine how the city may tackle its forecasted rise in population.   

"I think not just Cambridge but all the other townships and cities, we're facing significant growth over the next 30 years," said Hardy Bromberg, the deputy city manager of community development. 

"When you think of the Region of Waterloo approaching a million people in terms of population, that's a lot of people that are going to be looking for jobs, a lot of people that are going to be looking for places to live." 

Hardy Bromberg is the deputy manager of community development with the City of Cambridge. (James Chaarani/CBC)

Bromberg explained that Cambridge is anticipating to take on 65,000 to 70,000 additional residents by 2050, however he said that the 12 by 18 square foot tiny home prototype isn't meant to be a solution to the city's homelessness issue. 

"In terms of using tiny homes for homelessness, that really isn't the object of the city's participation in this," said Bromberg. 

"Certainly city Cambridge council has undertaken a number of initiatives to try to address homelessness, in terms of looking at some city of Cambridge surplus lands to make available. We do collect a fund, an affordable housing fund as development applications are approved."

The idea, Bromberg said, is for a tiny home to potentially be built in one's backyard for additional housing to accommodate family or to be used as a "mortgage helper."

The kitchen area of the tiny home has a counter, sink and mini fridge. (James Chaarani/CBC)

The prototype has a porch area that's enclosed with plexiglas, which helps to generate heat for the home. Bromberg said that it can also be used as a greenhouse to grow things like herbs or fruits.

The main area past that is insulated, and consists of a bed on pulleys that can be lowered and raised, a table and bench underneath, some shelving to the side, and a kitchen potion with a counter, mini-fridge and sink. 

A pulley system is used to raise and lower the bed, which sits over a bench and table. (James Chaarani/CBC)

The shower is directly next to the sink but there isn't a toilet in the unit. Residents would look to use the toilet in the main house if there is one, or there would need to be a shared toilet somewhere onsite.

"As a prototype, this is something absolutely where you can come down, you can have a look," said Bromberg. "It's often difficult to determine whether a tiny home is something that you would be interested in just from pictures on a screen or on the Internet or on a piece of paper."

'It's a great idea' 

Cambridge resident, Dave Groshok, was passing by and was able to take a look inside. 

"I think it's a fantastic idea," he said. "It's practical and there's enough space for someone to live in. It's wonderful."

The tiny home does have a shower, but there isn't a toilet in the unit. (James Chaarani/CBC)

He said that if he had the space for it, he'd install one. 

"I like it," he added. "I think it's a great idea." 

Bromberg warned that the current prototype isn't up to code and a building permit is required. He suggests reaching out to the city if interested in building a tiny home.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

James Chaarani is a reporter for CBC Kitchener-Waterloo and London. You can reach him at james.chaarani@cbc.ca.

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