Big investment in small homes: Minstead to build tiny homes in Iroquois Falls.

Author:Kelly, Lindsay
Position:Northeastern Ontario

Two years ago, Carole Lyne Robin was ready to simplify her life.

Frustrated with the high, and often unpredictable, cost of living, she downsized everything into a 236-square-foot tiny home that she buiit from scratch with the help of her father, a former contractor, and took up residence on a plot of land in Iroquois Falls.

Living in the home, off-grid, since last November, Robin said she's perfectly content in her 8.5foot by 28-foot sanctuary--which includes two lofts, a full bathroom, a washer and dryer, and plenty of storage--which, for her, exudes the same tranquil feeling as a cozy cottage.

"I have everything I need," Robin said. "I don't need any more space because I don't have any other things that I would want in my house."

Now, the self-employed photographer plans to help other Northerners realize their dream of tiny home ownership through a partnership with Riversedge Developments, the brownfield redevelopment company that purchased the Resolute paper mill after its permanent closure in 2014.

In May, Robin and Riversedge, led by Justus Veldman, launched Minstead MiniHomes, which is taking orders to construct tiny homes, defined as a house measuring fewer than 500 square feet, which will be situated on individual parcels of land at the former Resolute property, now dubbed Abitibi Commons.

"Abitibi Commons and Riversedge are sectioning off pieces of land on their property where it's going to be legal for tiny houses to be situated as residences," said Robin, noting she's already received orders for five homes.

"So people will have a lease and will be able to park them there and live there year-round."

Each order is customized to the client's wants and needs, and the size and cost of the home varies depending on what goes into it, she said. Some will be built on trailers so they can be portable, while others will be stationary.

The mill's former central shop has been cleared out and repurposed as Minstead's headquarters, and local tradespeople have been hired to do the construction, plumbing, electrical and spray foam work.

"If the business does really well, then we'll be able to hire more and produce more at a time," Robin said.

"We have the space to be able to make at least three or four at a time, so it would be nice to have them all done at the same time and hire multiple people to work on them, and bring more work to Iroquois Falls."

Each home will take between four and five weeks to build, and construction on the first, which...

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