A Yellowknife man is urging residents to get behind the tiny home movement after he built his own miniature unit following a close encounter with a bear.
“Honestly, the idea popped into my head after a bear attack,” said Étienne Croteau, who built his own tiny home and made a presentation to City Hall on the feasibility of a tiny home neighbourhood in Yellowknife this week.
“After that I decided I have to change the way I live and after maybe three days I came up with the idea of a tiny house.”
Croteau works with l’Association Franco-Culturelle de Yellowknife but also does some contract work as a chef.
While working with a prospecting company roughly 150 kilometres southeast of Yellowknife, Croteau was confronted by a bear. He told Moose FM the experience changed him.
“A lot of things changed for me after that,” he said. “After about a 10-minute run from this bear.”
Croteau, who defined the experience as eye-opening, quickly became interested in the tiny home movement that’s spread to cities across Canada.
Supporters of the movement say it offers houses that are both affordable and ecologically friendly.
As a 35-year-old working with a community organization, Croteau figured it was time to put his money to better use, instead of sending monthly deposits to landlords.
“After three years of living in Yellowknife and spending more than $1,000 a month for an apartment, this money was going away instead of in my pocket.
“Then you live with one, two or three roommates. Where’s the privacy? Where are my savings? Do I really want to just work, spend my money and not have much more?
“I’m not rich, so I have to find a solution to live here with my budget.”
So, with the help of his father and some friends, Croteau built a 350-square foot unit on wheels complete with many of the amenities most modern homes have.
He still has some work to do but the home already has a fridge, a stove top and an oven in place. He’s also installed a kitchen sink, a toilet and a shower.
The next step for Croteau is to secure a lease from city council so that he can legally park his home on a piece of City-owned land.
The idea would then be to see if the city could support an entire neighbourhood of tiny homes.
To Croteau’s delight, Monday’s meeting at City Hall was jam-packed, and support seemed to come from every direction.
“[Council] received the idea of a tiny home neighbourhood project really with an open mind,” he said.
“I was really shocked but also not entirely surprised because I know City Hall and council is pretty open to this type of project.
“They want to retain the population here and this kind of project could apply to people of all walks of life.
“Believe me, we’re just beginning,” he said. “We need a city like Yellowknife to be open to listening to these needs.”