I am writing to you today with an idea that has come from several different personal observations. I live in the community of (Winston Heights)Mountview and aside from a few years away, have basically lived here for the majority of my life. I recently renovated and moved into what was my childhood home, in the same community after selling my own home, also in the ‘hood. The community itself is undergoing considerable change with the large lot sizes attracting developers who are building substantially-sized single-family homes or multi-family dwellings. Although this change brings with it the noise and debris of new construction, I am not opposed to the infusion of new energy into the community. What dismays me in this process is the fact that many very sturdily-constructed late 50’s homes are being simply demolished and hauled away to the landfill in the process. From personal experience, I know that the newer builds are not made of the same quality of materials as we were fortunate to experience growing up. It seems a real shame to me that there isn’t more effort put into salvaging these sturdy, albeit older, homes. In a few cases, the older homes have been moved off site. Since the majority of the homes are bungalows, it appears as if this process is relatively easy compared to what might be encountered in attempting to move multi-level structures.
Having watched the planning for the relocation of victims of the 2013 flood, following the situation with the residents of Midfield Park, and realizing we have an on-going issue of homelessness in Calgary, it seems the City would benefit from an area of readily available, comparatively inexpensive, housing. Would it not be possible to utilize these homes that are otherwise slated for demolition and will take much-needed space in our landfill to create a community in which many of the aforementioned citizens might reside – either temporarily or on a more permanent basis?
I realize there is considerable expense involved in moving a building. My proposal would involve a ‘tax’ to developers through which it would be made more financially beneficial to them to bear the cost of moving the existing building from the lot prior to redevelopment than to haul the resulting debris to the landfill. Surely the City owns a parcel of land that could be used to receive the homes as a site for a new community. I suspect there are companies who would be on board with providing assistance in getting the newly situated homes ready for occupancy in exchange for publicity for their good deeds. Eligible residents could also be encouraged to assist with the renovations along the lines of “Habitat for Humanity”. Perhaps this organization would benefit also from readily made buildings as opposed to sourcing everything from the ground up.
I realize there are many factors to be considered in this idea and that in an era of need to get something completed as quickly as possible, perhaps there are a few more steps required than simply enlisting a backhoe to demolish a perfectly good structure. We are constantly asking people to be more environmentally responsible and to recycle whenever possible. What greater gesture of “living green” could there be than to recycle an entire house and save many resources in the process?
Mountview is not the only community in Calgary that is seeing a turn-around of solidly constructed homes, so the source of supply is much broader if one considers the entire city in this initiative.