Local company building ecological ‘aqua-homes’

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WINDSOR, ONT. – A Wallaceburg-based company wants to make a splash in the local housing market by launching houseboats later this summer.

Strong House Canada is building eco-friendly “water houses” and plans to install the first structure on the Sydenham River soon.

“In fact, we are licensed boat builders. So they are registered as boats and they are insured as houseboats.

Strong House Canada partner Sally Joyce says the houses are meant to be an alternative for people entering the housing market and for people who want to downsize with an affordable place to go.

“If you like nature. If you like being near water and want to wake up in the morning, make yourself a cup of tea and go sit right on your dock. Joyce adds, “They can be cabins, they can be weekends, they can be short term rentals. They can be anything you would like to do with them.

Stabilizing anchors lower to hold houses in place, with a small cushion foot to allow movement with water levels. Structures can be completely off-grid and use composting toilets, so they don’t need to be connected to sewer lines. They are also powered by hybrid solar and wind systems.

“We love working with water and the environment,” says Joyce, “There is nothing on this planet that you can build that will stop the water if the water is going to go anywhere. “

Owner Alex Topol says four season homes are meant to be in the water year round. Topol adds that they are constructed from a steel frame on top of a fiberglass composite barge that can withstand year round conditions like ice and waves.

“They will decrease the strength and height of the waves crashing on our shores.”

Topol says homes can include dikes or flood fences that serve as bridges or sidewalks and protect homes and the shoreline from erosion. “It’s faster, cleaner, we don’t distract any shore and we like to keep it as natural as possible.”

Joyce told CTV News that they are using galvanized Canadian steel and composite materials instead of lumber and that they are working on partnerships to harvest things like Phragmites grass to use. “These composite materials when they are produced, the longevity is 180-220 years.” Joyce says, “Never needs to be painted. Does not rust. Lighter. Easier to work. So many factors that make it the right thing to do these days.

The company also hopes to enter into partnerships at Lighthouse Cove in Lakeshore.

“This is a whole new area for us here, a whole new one for our board, a whole new one for our planning staff. Lakeshore Mayor Tom Bain said city staff are reviewing zoning requirements, but note that houseboats may be possible by the fall of this year. “We just currently want to make sure we have all the bases covered.”

Bain cites similar models in British Columbia, saying the setup is impressive.

Strong House says the price of 16 different models ranges from $ 100,000 to $ 400,000 depending on size and preference. “Construction on land still has many requirements that we believe are restrictive for our innovation,” says Joyce. “They can be completely off-grid, can be hybrid, can be in regular service depending on your site.”

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