KELOWNA – A new Kelowna company is introducing a potential solution to the current housing crunch: plug and play carriage suites built from shipping containers.
“We’re going to build one in Kelowna, it’s on its way, it’s getting built right now,” says Honomobo owner Devon Siebenga.
Honomobo hopes to capitalize on the housing shortage in the city with its container houses, ranging in size from 320 to 649 square feet.
Siebenga says the container homes could be used in various ways, including backyard suites and dwelling units. Making homes out of shipping containers is nothing new, but has never been done in Kelowna.
“We’re looking at Kelowna as a huge opportunity. You’ve got existing land with existing homeowners that are totally under utilizing their land and have the ability to add a dwelling to it…something like this is easily put in the backyard,” says Siebenga.
Siebenga knows a thing or two about building homes out of shipping containers. His brother runs another Kelowna company, Big Steel Box, which transforms shipping containers into storage units and even executive suites for the oil industry.
However, the units he’s bringing to Kelowna are going to be considerably larger.
“The model that we are bringing into Kelowna is actually going to be 26 feet long by 24 feet wide. So it’s three different modules that will be pulled together to make one final envelop,” says Siebenga.
But who wants to look at a shipping container in their neighbour’s backyard?
“It’s not going to look anything like a shipping container. Unless I told you it was, you wouldn’t even know it,” says Siebenga.
Siebenga says a unit will cost at least $100,000, but is convinced the container homes can help put a dent in Kelowna’s homelessness problem.
He can see the container parked on city-owned land, housing the homeless.
“You have land in every city that is waiting to be developed maybe 10, 15 or 25 years from now, that is just sitting on ice. We as a city can find a way to leverage existing land. That’s where Vancouver housing is proposing this concept where they create these temporary but seemingly permanent developments out of beautiful modular structures,” says Siebenga.
He says the first shipping container home has already been approved behind a residence on Cadder Street.
The company officially launches in June.