When it first opened it was billed as a temporary arrangement to house some of the city’s most vulnerable, but nearly two years later the Tiny Town village next to Victoria’s Royal Athletic Park has had its licence extended for a second time.
Thursday afternoon city council voted unanimously to allow it to stay until the end of September. The extension had been requested by Our Place Society, the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness and BC Housing after receiving a previous extension in September 2022. The container home village opened in April 2021.
READ MORE: Tiny homes village in North Park clears first step in temporary use extension
“So we could prepare the residents for their new permanent homes that have been delayed from construction so we were needing a few more months to bridge that gap,” said Leah Young, director of housing and shelter for Our Place Society.
Coun. Stephen Hammond originally rejected the idea suggesting an extension until May was more appropriate given the concerns he’s heard from neighbours.
“A lot of damage, people are having to secure their homes because of break-ins, people are putting up fences and gates and all at the expense to these residents,” he said.
But along with the extension council will also be urging BC Housing to add more security and to consult with neighbours about ongoing concerns.
“That gives me a lot more comfort and that’s why in the end I was able to vote for that because it was a recognition that these people count as well as the people who are in the tiny townhomes,” Hammond said.
Those who run the Victoria HarbourCats baseball team which is based at Royal Athletic Park say spending yet another summer neighbouring the tiny home village isn’t actually a big deal for them.
“The initial fear was that it was going to cause mayhem and lots of things happening from a safety and security point of view but largely it became a non-issue for us,” said HarbourCats general manager Christian Stewart.
He said while there are some problems in the neighbourhood it’s usually from those visiting people in the tiny home village, not from residents themselves.
“The biggest thing is it takes up some of the parking spots for the stadium and some of our fans have commented on that but there’s still lots of parking in that lot so that became a non-issue last year.”
There are currently only 20 people living in Tiny Town which typically houses 30 because as residents move on to more permanent housing their spots aren’t filled. Our Place says everyone will have other housing to move into over the next six months and they are confident the tiny home village won’t need another extension.