A look at the decisions and discussions from the Whitehorse City Council meeting on December 6.
Whistle Bend additions
At the December 6 standing committee meeting, council members discussed subdivision approval for Phases 7 and 8 of Whistle Bend. They also discussed a future zoning amendment that would allow the development of vacant land as part of the ninth phase of the subdivision.
Phase 7 is expected to be the site of 90 single-family lots and 41 townhouse units. Phase 8 will consist of 15 single-family lots and one multi-family lot.
According to city staff, subdivision approval had been issued for much of the Phase 7 area, but it has expired. Com. Ted Laking asked what the reason for the delay was, to which city director of land and construction services Pat Ross said the contractor encountered delays in other parts of the project and predicted that the lots could be released to begin construction of this phase in 2023..
Phases 7 and 8 are located near the northern limit of the Whistlebend area.
The streets of the development take their names from ancient steamboats. The apparent political inaccuracy of one of the names chosen in a future part of the subdivision led to a request for reconsideration from one of the councilors. Com. Michelle Friesen drew attention to a street that must be named after a ship called the Gypsy Queen. Friesen asked if there would be an opportunity to rename the street because Gypsy is a discriminatory word.
Ross said searching for discriminatory language or history in ancient steamboat names is on the radar of city staff. He said a change could be made at the subdivision sketch phase or with a bylaw approved by council at a later stage. Ross warned that once the lots hit the market, changes become more difficult.
Another topic raised at the December 6 meeting was the possibility of forming a committee to address the housing shortage in Whitehorse.
Councilor Dan Boyd raised the possibility of forming a group to focus more on housing.
“It is well known in our community that we have a bit of a housing supply problem. Costs are skyrocketing. But even aside from the cost, just the availability, we hear stories every day that people can’t move to Whitehorse because they can’t get housing, ”he said.
Boyd said his first thought for the committee was to review the offer to see if anything could be done to increase the amount of building land made available to contractors and developers.
Mayor Laura Cabott said she fully supports a committee to review housing and said there are housing committees in other jurisdictions that Whitehorse could learn from.
Com. Jocelyn Curteneau warned her fellow advisers that the committee should be careful not to spend time on redundant work, but should instead build on work already being done by the Yukon government and other organizations.
Councilors voted unanimously to ask city staff to come back with more information and options on creating a housing committee at the next council meeting.
Access to the cemetery
Councilor Ted Laking asked city staff why vehicle access to Whitehorse cemeteries is restricted to appointments only during the winter months. He noted that the cemetery rules were last revised in 2010 and asked why access is restricted as it is for seven months of the year.
“I was told that this is a problem for the elderly and people with disabilities or with mobility issues,” he said.
Acting City Manager Jeff O’Farrell said appointment-only access is a product of the city not having staff at Gray Mountain Cemetery during these months to open the gates at intervals. regular. He said that during the five months that the cemetery gates are open during the day, staff open them when they show up in the morning and close them when they leave late in the afternoon. O’Farrell said closed doors are an important measure to deter vandalism in the evening.
“During the winter months, or seven months a year, the department basically works on 48 hours notice where it works with people if they are looking for access. And yes, it just comes down to site security, ”said City Manager of Community and Recreation Services Landon Kulych.
“Gray Mountain Cemetery is in a secluded location, so it is prone to vandalism; there aren’t many eyes on it.
Whitehorse council discussed a new trail plan in the city’s southern end and heard from a delegation calling for more stringent snowmobile regulations on mixed-use trails.
The Board received the plan which was compiled over the past 10 months by a consultant. The map contains information on public engagement around the city’s trails.
The plan identified potential improvements for the trails in the southern end of town, including: boardwalks or bridges through wetlands, grading of steep or eroded trail sections, clearing of dangerous trees and the installation of observation benches and signs.
A cooridor of continuous trails along the Yukon River has been identified as a priority. The plan suggests places where connecting trails can be added to make this a reality.
Also with respect to trail development, the city heard from Keith Lay of the Active Trails Whitehorse Association. Lay focused on the last sentence of the administration’s report to council which says snowmobile use in the area covered by the South Whitehorse trail plan will still be permitted under the snowmobile bylaw. .
Lay appeared by phone and council struggled to hear her due to a poor connection. They asked him to email his concerns. He also emailed them to Yukon News.
Lay takes issue with the fact that snowmobiles are still permitted on otherwise non-motorized trails. He says this conflicts with the goals set out in the city’s 2020 trail plan and allows motorized use in summer or winter on virtually any trail in the city.
Projects and trails coordinator Meagan Wilson, who presented the new trail plan to council, noted that snowmobiles are only permitted on trails they fit on and where they will not damage vegetation or environmentally sensitive areas.
“We have considered changing the designations. And we decided to keep them as they are. And on top of that, 92% of people reported good experiences on the trails. So there was no conflict in this area, ”Wilson added.
Contact Jim Elliot at [email protected]
Whitehorse City Council