‘It’s my house’: N.S. woman fights to live off the grid

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'It's my house': N.S. woman fights to live off the grid
Cheryl Smith’s tiny home sits empty near Clark’s Harbour, N.S.

Cheryl Smith planned to move “off the grid” and into a small house near Clark’s Harbour, N.S., a year ago.
But thanks to Canadian building regulations, the four-by-six metre structure remains half-built and empty. Beside the door are two signs on neon paper. One says “Freedom of Rights Denied!” and the other reads “Work stopped.”

The signs went up when Smith was forced to put her moving plans on hold. The homebuilder says she was denied an occupancy permit because her dream house plans don’t include electricity.

Canadian laws require living spaces to have access to power to run smoke detectors and air exchange systems.

But Smith said the point of moving into her tiny home was to disconnect from the power grid.
“I just don’t want to leave a big footprint on the earth,” she told CTV Atlantic.

“If what we’re trying to do is move the world into a greener place and make it more environmentally friendly so there’s something still left for our children, then why am I being forced to rely on electricity or fossil fuels?”

Smith is part of a growing movement of tiny-house enthusiasts in North America and around the world. Proponents of the housing trend preach minimalism, environmentalism and simple design with creative storage options. []

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