Collingwood is experiencing a housing crisis. In a recent article, then Enterprise Bulletin noted that last year the Housing Resource Centre saw more than 270 individuals classified as homeless. In January 2017 alone they saw 15 people who were homeless and another 15 who had 30 days to find alternate living arrangements. Simcoe County has more than 2500 on a wait list for affordable housing. Housing Resource Centre Executive Director Lucy Gower is quoted as saying “We just did a search for vacancies in the Collingwood area and there is nothing available”.
In an attempt to deal with the issue, the County of Simcoe has made changes to provincial legislation. By adopting the “Secondary Suite” program, the county is able to waive fees for homeowners who are modifying their property to allow for a secondary suite. Enter Jessica Flynn and her company Funky Bunkies. “Think tiny. Live large” is the motto Flynn uses to describe one of Collingwood’s newest business ventures.
Designed as a way to provide local residents with the space necessary to embrace all that our area has to offer and live life to the fullest, Funky Bunkies offers well-designed, custom bunkies and top of the line customer service. Tailored to each buyer, each Funky Bunky is designed in consultation with the property owner to ensure his/her vision for living large in a small space becomes a reality. But when taken in conjunction with the local housing situation, these bunkies become a convenient solution that could help to provide affordable housing in a relatively short time frame and eligible home owners could even receive government funding to help them with the cost of construction.
If zoning allows for it, a Funky Bunkies’ “Accessory Apartment” could provide home owners with a creative and manageable way to supplement income with a rental unit and provide affordable housing within the community at the same time. The largest of Funky Bunkies’ models at 10x20’, the “Accessory Apartment” is perfectly suited and fully outfitted to be a long-term rental or granny-suite. The unit includes a 3-piece washroom, bedroom, storage loft and kitchenette and allows for independent living (in close proximity to the original house, if desired). Base models start at C$45,000 + HST but Simcoe County property owners can visit www.simcoe.ca/ontariorenovates to see if they qualify for up to $25,000 in government funding under the “Secondary Suites” program.
Sound interesting? An initial consultation fee of $350 is all it takes to get the ball rolling. Customers then make arrangements for a site visit from Ms. Flynn (CEO) and her Contractor Mike Grey to hear the client’s vision and determine what, if any adjustments will have to be made to existing plans in order to customize the unit to better suit the owner’s personality and needs. Then, acting as a full-service project manager, Jessica will research what guidelines may have been set by the municipality, handle all necessary paperwork involved in the planning process, secure permits and ensure all zoning by-law regulations are met. That’s when Mike and his network of skilled trades men and women use their creativity and expertise to adjust design plans as necessary. The third member of the team, Zack Poper of Devine Design then turns plans into reality, using software to allow clients to see a 3D mock-up of each completely customized design before blueprints are even drawn up. If clients are pleased with the initial consultation, the charge covers the administration fee for securing any necessary permits and once the project advances, will be put towards the final cost of construction.
The Accessory Apartment is only one of Funky Bunkies’ models. For those having difficulty finding affordable office space, the 8x16’ “Compact Commute” model might be a solution. This model provides the perfect space for a home office but allows for a separation from home. It is large enough to allow you to meet with clients, have quiet working space away from family/kids and conduct the day-to-day elements of business. Pricing is dependant on plans but according to their website, “base model pricing includes: any/ all consultations with Jessica and the team, permit and administration fees, all labour, all construction materials (including materials and labour for electrical and plumbing components), spray foam insulation, windows and doors as pictured in base models, flat screen tv, furnishings and accessories styled to your taste”.
Ever thought about an Art Studio/Man Cave/She Shed? Whether you want a place to unleash your inner artist, practice yoga or host your sports buddies, the “Dream It” model avoids the need for permits by keeping square footage to 108 sq. ft. But a smaller space does not mean sacrificing comfort, fun or function and owners are encouraged to be involved in the design decisions to ensure the Bunkie truly suits their needs. Base models start at approximately C$18,000 + HST.