Skip to content

Marathon mulls over tiny homes project

Marathon’s council decided to allow staff to prepare a bylaw that will give the municipality more control over construction projects
marathon candidates night photo3
file photo

MARATHON — With the potential to build a subdivision of 20 tiny homes in Marathon, chief administrative officer Daryl Skworchinski asked council to consider allowing administration to issue a request for pre-qualification of acceptable suppliers.

Skworchinski said the project is now in the process of accepting suppliers and a residential developer to partner with the town. However, “if pre-qualification is being selected to ensure appropriate experienced suppliers are chosen for the project and that the town controls the parameters and variables as it relates to construction project products that will be utilized.”

In other words, the suppliers and developers must submit their qualifications to the municipality so that staff can begin the negotiation process.

Currently, the project has been assessed to cost an estimated $1.75 million. However, this figure does not include the cost of building the homes.

Coun. Zack Souckey asked if the federal government’s Housing Accelerator Fund would cover the cost of the project.

Back in February, the federal government pledged $1.9 million to fast-track the building of 60 new homes of various sizes over the next three years.

Skworchinski said the total cost of the project is still being finalized.

“We get quarterly payments through the Housing Accelerator Fund.... We may likely have to have some cash through reserves and ultimately repay ourselves as that funding comes in,” said Skworchinski.

Coun. Ray Lake pointed out that “there’s no real cost to the municipality” as the Housing Accelerator Fund will replenish what is taken from reserves.

Lake said he would like to see a scaled sample tiny home so people who are interested in purchasing the designs could see something tangible.

Skworchinski said the scenario is part of the reason for requesting pre-qualification from suppliers before proceeding further with the project.

Another reason administration is requesting pre-qualifications is to ensure the municipality can fulfill their promise to keep those tiny homes affordable.

“It's about affordability," said Mayor Rick Dumas. "That was the big driving part of this $1.9 million we got from the federal government was about affordable housing.

"So by us looking at a tiny village, there are five to 600-square-foot homes that people own and yet they're affordable for a young guy, a young couple, an elderly couple, or only the person moving from a bigger home, as you say, to a smaller facility and making it more affordable, it's more affordable.

“Yeah, and certainly, part of the qualification is going to be determining those thresholds, whether we say affordability is between $80,000 and $120,000 or you say it's $80,000 to $100,000.”

— SNNewswatch