After spending eight months road tripping and studying eco-villages and sustainable living, 27-year-old Adrian Giacca moved to Revelstoke, and —like millions of people before him — couldn’t find anywhere to live. This led him on another lengthy journey navigating a new affordable housing initiative. His Big Idea: a micro home community of structures roughly 8×23-feet (~200 sq. ft), built to minimize carbon footprint and maximize communal benefits.
RQ Let’s get into it: You’re definitely not starting a cult … right?
AG It’s not a cult because it’s not led by a religious leader.
RQ You’re only nuts about housing?
AG I just want to be able to afford to live in Canada.
RQ Where are you now in your Master Plan?
AG My goal right now is to gauge the community and partnerships to provide a plan so it can go through the approval process … then move forward with actual construction.
RQ You say this is less about solving a housing crunch and more about deciding how we want to develop … explain.
TS The whole intention of the project comes off being about affordable housing, but it’s really about driving community change. With my concept, it’s not just about the home, but the structure in which the homes are located. When I look at designing a community, it’s about how to engage people to provide opportunities for cohesion, collaboration and growth.
“The hard work has been to develop
a plan so that d can jigsaw this together.”
RQ—How is Revy a good place to do this?
AG When I look at Revelstoke, I see not just an extraordinary place to live, but its extraordinary people with the drive to be outside and contribute and be a part of the community.
RQ—Why don’t we already build this way?
AG What we’re trying to do is pull our development outside of the real estate market by putting caps and covenants on the houses that don’t allow them to rise with the rising cost of property values in Revelstoke. You’re not buying into an investment, you’re buying into a lifestyle choice.
RQ How’s it going?
AG It takes a lot of time and effort. You have to navigate the challenges of the OCP [Official Community Plan], building code, grow community interest, develop a plan, do feasibility studies, find the right site, build these partnerships with numerous organizations…
RQ Ya, you lost me…
AG The reality is that if you’re building housing for the current [for profit] market, that home that was once affordable at $200,000, next year is being sold for $400- or $500,000. So, you’re feeding into a system that continues to add value. We’re flipping that to give value to the individual and their lifestyle rather than their pocketbook.
RQ Will you live in micro housing? And will your neighbours have to pay you homage?
AG Haha. These are fun… I’ve lived in a camper van and would love to live in a home slightly bigger than that.
RQ Are micro homes tinier than tiny homes?
AG It depends who defines it. There are tiny houses and tiny houses on wheels. There are micro houses and small houses. The way I’m defining it is tiny houses are on wheels — a livable space on an 8-foot-wide trailer bed. A micro home is somewhere between 300 and 500 square feet. A small home is between 500 and 1,000 square feet.
RQ You know, land is expensive but water is free! (See p9.) Do we not have the innovation to develop a floating community of micro-houseboats?
TS There are interesting individuals who have completely left the real estate market and built their houses on floating docks around the gullies of Vancouver Island. It’s something that regulations don’t know how to address. What I’m trying to develop here is long-term home ownership. That is created through financing and titled properties. So, is it possible? I’m sure it can be done. It’s not at all what I’m trying to propose … I want people to be able to build equity and create an investment in a responsible way.
RQ So … no … pirate housing?
AG. [Shakes head.]
RQ If this article serves one purpose, what’s one thing you need right now? Options include billionaire mystery donor, etc …
AG I spent a ton of time meeting with numerous politicians and community stakeholders. I’ve now created a network of planners, engineers, donors and business mentors who are freely giving their time to critique and provide their intelligence because they want to be part of a contribution to an effort like this. The hard work has been to develop a plan so that I can jigsaw this together. The only part that’s missing is the financials, and that can only be truly understood with all these pieces of the puzzle. So yeah, if an eccentric billionaire approached me and said: “I want to support this project.” I’d say, great, but let’s hold back until I finalize and completely understand the project. We don’t want to get into a scenario where we finance a project that fails.
RQ Will you please shut up and take my money?
TS Legally I can’t. I want to when I have a better understanding of how your money plays. ∇
—Interview condensed .
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