Today I received a VERY promising comment here, at my blog, that I think is very important and worth sharing.

It is posted below, and I would invite you all to share your thoughts.   ((( PLEASE NOTE: I have edited to protect the identity of the writer.)  Hopefully we can all work on this together to make another aspect of tiny house living easier for ourselves and those who come after us.  (UPDATE: PLEASE NOTE!!!  NONE OF US SHOULD DO THIS SOLO!  IF AN APPLICATION IS DENIED BY THE MINISTRY, NO ONE CAN PUT IN ANOTHER SUBMISSION ON THIS TOPIC FOR FIVE YEARS!!!!)

A place to go!

A place to go!

Thank you for this information. I am passionate about clean water and finding ways to produce less black water. I feel that composting toilets need to be the way of the future. However it is obvious that lawmakers still have no understanding of the potential of composting toilets for improvements in water quality given that there is still a requirement for all dwellings to hook up to sewage infrastructure. However, there is a law in Ontario called the Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR), overseen by the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario (ECO)  *****************, which gives residents greater access to environmental decision-making. One of the tools in the EBR is an Application for Review with which it is possible to ask for a review of a current law or to request a new one. It is quite a powerful tool and one that could be used in many ways. One of the options that potentially exists for tiny-housers would be to file an Application for Review asking the government for a Policy or Regulation on composting toilets. This could be a very important undertaking for a variety of reasons including the fact that currently the Province does not have adequate ways to deal with the ‘septage’ pumped out of septic tanks and which essentially in the case of these garden suites, people are being asked to use. If someone else was passionate about this issue and of removing barriers to tiny living, accessing the information about Rights under the EBR on the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario’s website and perhaps reading what the ECO has said about septage in the past.

Signed *********


Here is the link to rights

Has anyone found andy info on the sites about septage???

Categories: Tiny House Ontario | 13 Comments

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13 thoughts on “FLUSH IT OUT

  1. Do you happen to know of anyone in the area who can/would like to do an informed talk on tiny homes, Laura? Transition Brockville would like to host such a talk as part of its monthly series on sustainability and resilience that it’s been running in partnership with our local library for the past 8 years.

    • I may well be able to do this. Interviews are not something that I am too comfortable with, and I am very nervous about public speaking; however, a library is a place where I feel quite at home. I am certainly informed.

      What do you have in mind?

      PS: Hugh you may well be a relative of mine. A fellow by the same name was my 3x great grandfather. I don’t suppose you would know?

      • Hi again Laura. We put out feelers on this topic in a number of areas, and have had a positive response from an industrial tiny home builder based in Belleville. Given the short lead time before the presentation date, we’ve decided to proceed with them for our talk. Thank you very much for considering it.

        I see that you’ve met Bear the Tinker. Did you know that he passed away over a year ago? I met Bear several times, and know his wife Annie through Green Party connections.

      • Green Terra Homes. Awesome. They are not tiny house builders though. Most of us who write for tiny house gigs feel that tiny houses are under 400 square feet. They do some small ones though (under 1000). I had seen posts about them but had no idea that they are out of Belleville. Good to know.
        Bear, yes, I know. H was a good friend of mine – though, I suppose everyone who met Bear feels that way. He had that way about him, of bringing people toward him, you know. I have not seen Annie since Bear passed. I hope she is doing well.

  2. Yes, please let many eyes of perspectives formulate and mutually approve any proposed application in this important area, lest we all have to deal with unforeseen legal consequences.

  3. Anita

    I am currently in the process of building a small house 20×24′ and will be going off grid with a composting toilet, which will include a class 2 septic to deal with grey water.

  4. Thanks Yazmin for your post. I know (former) Commissioner Gord Miller through his current run to seek a seat for the Greens in my hometown of Guelph. Am very hopeful for a successful campaign.

    I hadn’t been aware of this option through the EBR. I now see that as being an option to consider to alter the law that forces municipalities to charge permit fees not in excess of their avg net cost (which sounds great but has had the unintended effect of significant additional permit fees for unique, alternative or progressive building technologies in favour of low fees for status quo, minimum bldg compliant applications). For this there are groups with more clout such as the Engineers Association of ON who might be keen to participate in a bid to see this law/regulation altered as, in addition to impacting specialty green builders (or as you note, down to the detail of choices for blackwater/solid waste), reduces their available work as some projects/aspects of projects don’t proceed because of the punitive and prohibitive fees.

    I for one will be thinking about this further and seeing what orgs can be prompted into making an application through the EBR with a bit of clout behind them. Thanks!!

    • Yazmin

      Hi Ben, you are welcome!
      There is much more information on the ECO’s website about the law, but the EBR is meant to increase protections for the environment. It is not meant to be used for financial changes or anything not strictly about environmental protection. And I wouldn’t say that clout is more important than well prepared applications! 🙂 That is key.
      I’m not sure how it could be used to encourage tiny house living, however people have been very creative in the past with the use of the application process.Taking a look at how the EBR has been used in the past would be advantageous.
      It would also be important for an Application for Review to be well thought out and prepared because for example if a Review application were submitted on a topic and denied by the Ministry, if would not be possible for anyone to resubmit another one on the same topic for a period of 5 years.

      • All really good information Y. I hear the distinction you are making between direct environmental implications and de facto (due to cost) implications that equally affect other non-conventional though not necessarily environmntally preferable activities. Your caution about making a sound application and the black out period thereafter are also very good to understand.

    • Hi Ben, I am glad that you are interested. I myself am not a good leader for these sorts of things but I do come with some skills. I worked for many years as a macro-indicator and large grant writer at the university level and of course I am still writing.
      These days of course, I work on the topic of tiny houses and off grid living. Too, I am walking the talk. I think if you are interested in being the front on this it could work. But I certainly want to be part of putting this together.
      I also think that the folks at the Endeavor Centre, The Hobohemians (Kat and Matt), Nick Fegs, and a few others would be solid voices on this.

      • I am not certain that I (or our company) would necessarily be the leader but perhaps the facilitator. Will see. We are currently producing naturally built school portables (delivered now to Guelph, Fergus, California and forthcoming to Ottawa) which has provided our company with a platform that can be modified with reasonable ease to create mini and tiny homes. Given the number of requests that we have received for same, we are working presently on designs with intent to be ready to ship this Spring. It will be through this design and initial permitting process that we will learn what roadblocks – beyond those our more ‘typically’ sized, alternatively built homes, have encountered (aside from municipal minimum sq ft and septic servicing).

        This will in turn determine for us what, if any, regulatory actions we might wish seen undertaken (we previously participated with UofG directly with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs to successfully get the definition of rainwater changed in the building code from equivalent to “stormwater sewage” – which you were then obliged to remove from your site immediately – to something properly benign and beneficial, that allows us to use it, like well, fresh water)

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