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New housing is being installed in Eastside Vancouver but this type of housing hasn’t been seen there before.  Instead of brand new condos or small new houses we now see shipping containers being recycled in to three story housing units for lower income communities across Canada.

 

These houses are feared to be cold and uncomfortable to live in but this is far from the truth.  These houses are built from 12 containers made in three story buildings and finished inside and out to look and feel like any normal house.  With a private bathroom, bedroom, kitchen, in-suite washer and dryer these ocean homes are ones to treasure.  As said by Marnie Crassweller a resident of one of these new housing units, “I find it to be a beautiful suite.” 

 

These housing units only take 12 of the millions of decommissioned containers that are discarded after 5-10 years of shipping life.  Such a model could provide thousands of people a place to live comfortably while also recycling resources we already have. 

 

Janice Abbott, a CEO of Atira Property Management Inc., a social housing agency describes building with the containers to be similar to “building with Lego blocks.”  It’s a fast, economical and green way to build homes as Janice Abbott says that they use the containers as “exoskeletons or substructures.”  Then the houses are finished to be stylish and affordable.

 

This project in Vancouver was finished in 2013 and is to be Canada’s first approach at recycling old shipping containers in to houses that are needed all across Canada in lower income locations such as in British Columbia, Alberta and Nunavut.  More housing units are planned to be built in Eastside Vancouver as the first houses were so successful.

 

Not everyone is as exuberant as some at the prospect of this type of housing though.  A civic issues expert and former Vancouver councilor Gordon Price, who now directs the City Program at Simon Fraser University seems apprehensive that building houses using containers will save as much money as thought.  He states that “it’s certainly not a revolutionary solution,” as one such problem is still the cost of land.

 

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- Patti Caldwell


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