As part of our ongoing series about “circles of care”, let’s ask ourselves this: how do we best consider our place in a national community when we build?
This continent has long been inhabited by humans – some evidence suggests 50,000 years – with 40,000 properties registered as sites of cultural importance under BC’s Heritage Conservation Act. In such areas, an archaeological assessment must be done and any artefacts removed before doing any building. A little research can prevent serious repercussions, but the information doesn’t appear on land title documents. Before starting a build, it’s wise to contact an archaeological consultant, as I did recently on behalf of a client to ensure that their plans would respect the historical and cultural heritage on their site.
Consideration should be given to sustainability and resilience in every good home design. As a nation, we know we must conserve our precious natural resources, reduce GHG emissions and increase our renewable energy sector. Governments at every level must support initiatives like Passive House with tax rebates or other incentives to homeowners. We also applaud the decision by Metro Vancouver to look at energy-labelling for homes, and would encourage its implementation nation-wide.
The preservation of agricultural land is essential; encroachment on farmland by urban sprawl is a threat to our food security. There’s a counter-movement toward higher density housing that reduces our collective footprint, with smaller homes, coach houses and garden suites, cohousing, and other strategies. When we build, how do we consider the lands that surround us?
Finally, let’s insist on local, sustainably-sourced materials as much as possible. We can expand our circles of care by making choices that benefit the local, regional and national economies. At the same time, we’ll build homes that reflect and integrate with the unique beauty of our landscapes. A “made in Canada” home is one to be proud of, isn’t it?