News / Calgary

Grow Calgary says Baconfest stifled tiny home discussion

The group was prevented from bringing tiny home literature to a city talk on the subject

Melody Mossing, farm manager at Grow Calgary, and Paul Hughes, founder, show off the first tiny home on the Grow Calgary property, which is under construction.

Elizabeth Cameron / Calgary Freelance

Melody Mossing, farm manager at Grow Calgary, and Paul Hughes, founder, show off the first tiny home on the Grow Calgary property, which is under construction.

Grow Calgary Founder Paul Hughes says the city blocked him from bringing flyers about tiny homes to a discussion on that very topic earlier this week, but the city says they were just following policy.

Hughes said a volunteer with Grow Calgary approached the city about bringing leaflets about a microhome-building competition to Baconfest, an urban planning film festival put on by the city each year.

“It’s an open event, its free,” said Hughes. “It’s supposed to be based on the idea of exchanging ideas around urbanism.”

On Wednesday, the films and follow-up discussion were on the topic of reducing consumption and living in smaller homes.

Grow Calgary is launching a microhome building contest at the group’s farm site in the city’s southwest.

The competition is a hands-on, summer-long program that will have teams designing and building 100 square foot living spaces, in an attempt to generate building innovations.

“We have interns that thought it would be a good idea to go there,” said Hughes. “We made up some handbills to participate.”

The interns reached out to the city several days in advance, but after having trouble getting a reponse from officials, they were eventually told to leave the papers at home.

A spokesperson for the city said this is normal at any city-sanctioned event

“(Wednesday’s) screening had a full program with limited time for anything outside the films being screened. For this reason we decided not to share any non-City of Calgary materials at the screening,” said Rollin Stanley, general manager of urban strategy with the city.

Hughes finds that response absurd as they just wanted to put some pamphlets out on a table.

He said he could understand if the literature was off topic, but he felt it would have been of interest to attendees.

“We’re not asking for an endorsement,” he said. “You’re opening the door to conversations and discussion and then you’re shutting it down. It’s very hyper-controlling.”

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