whats the big rush

Common sense almost prevailed. It came so close Whitehorse residents could almost touch it, but at the end of the day, as politicians are wont to say, it was kept at bay by a single vote.

Common sense almost prevailed.

It came so close Whitehorse residents could almost touch it, but at the end of the day, as politicians are wont to say, it was kept at bay by a single vote.

This week when Whitehorse city council decided whether or not to push the McIntyre Creek area development proposal to the next stage of planning, three brave councillors – Ranj Pillai, Betty Irwin and newly elected Kirk Cameron – stood up to support a delay.

Given the strong opposition from community associations, conservation groups and other concerned residents, they thought it was reasonable to slow down, step back and take a second look at the controversial issue.

But they were outvoted by Florence Roberts, Dave Austin, Dave Stockdale and Mayor Bev Buckway, who all favoured forging ahead.

So preliminary planning for the Porter Creek D housing development and road across McIntyre Creek marches forward despite the objections.

Perhaps the vote shouldn’t come as any surprise. The city has been gunning for it all along, stepping up its campaign as decision day approached.

Most recently, it turned to full-page newspaper ads to convince residents of the merits of the development.

First it laid down groundwork: the city has plenty of wilderness already, it said. Two thirds of the city in fact.

That sounds impressive but much of the city’s wild lands are wild because they aren’t suitable for development.

Then it pointed to the city’s five existing parks, starting with the biggest, Chadburn Lake, at 8,050 hectares. McIntyre Creek is second at 3,620 hectares followed by Wolf Creek at 1,100 hectares, McLean Lake at 195 hectares and Paddy’s Pond at 190 hectares.

And then it spelled out its vision for Porter Creek D: 200 to 300 homes as well as potential roads from Pine Street to the Alaska Highway and Mountainview Drive, bike lanes, multi-use trails and a bridge.

That’s in addition to the new Whistlebend subdivision which will eventually have 3,500 homes, demand permitting.

But even with the two housing developments put together, the city claims it will fall far short of the 6,000 new homes it expects to need within the next 20 years.

Although that figure is based on the current rate of growth, 6,000 is still an astounding number.

Even if it turns out to be true, it’s hard to fathom that putting the controversial McIntyre Creek area development on pause for a few months would hurt anything one way or the other.

So what’s the big rush?

This council’s mandate runs out in 10 months.

Some of the councillors may run again. Others may not. Even if they do run, they may not win.

If the interest in the recent byelection is any indication, there will be more than enough candidates to choose from come Oct. 18, 2012.

Should it even be making such a major decision so near the end of its mandate? Is it just trying to ensure the project is too far along for the next council to change course?

Common sense almost prevailed.

Too bad it fell one vote short.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A Copper Ridge resident clears their driveway after a massive over night snowfall in Whitehorse on Nov. 2, 2020. Environment Canada has issued a winter storm warning for the Whitehorse and Haines Junction areas for Jan. 18. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Winter storm warning for Haines Junction and Whitehorse

Environment Canada says the storm will develop Monday and last until Tuesday

Maria Metzen off the start line of the Yukon Dog Mushers Association’s sled dog race on Jan. 9. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Mushers race in preparation for FirstMate Babe Southwick

The annual race is set for Feb. 12 and 13.

The Yukon government is making changes to the medical travel system, including doubling the per diem and making destinations for medical services more flexible. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Subsidy for medical travel doubled with more supports coming

The change was recommended in the Putting People First report endorsed by the government

Chloe Sergerie, who was fined $500 under the <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> on Jan. 12, says she made the safest choice available to her when she entered the territory. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)
Woman fined $500 under CEMA says she made ‘safest decision’ available

Filling out a declaration at the airport was contrary to self-isolation, says accused

Yukon University has added seven members to its board of governors in recent months. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
New members named to Yukon U’s board of governors

Required number of board members now up to 17

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Your Northern regulatory adventure awaits!

“Your Northern adventure awaits!” blared the headline on a recent YESAB assessment… Continue reading

Yukoner Shirley Chua-Tan is taking on the role of vice-chair of the social inclusion working group with the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences’ oversight panel and working groups for the autism assessment. (Submitted)
Canadian Academy of Health Sciences names Yukoner to panel

Shirley Chua-Tan is well-known for a number of roles she plays in… Continue reading

The Fish Lake area viewed from the top of Haeckel Hill on Sept. 11, 2018. The Yukon government and Kwanlin Dün First Nation (KDFN) announced they are in the beginning stages of a local area planning process for the area. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Local area planning for Fish Lake announced

The Government of Yukon and Kwanlin Dün First Nation (KDFN) announced in… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Fire damage, photographed on Jan. 11, to a downtown apartment building which occurred late in the evening on Jan. 8. Zander Firth, 20, from Inuvik, was charged with the arson and is facing several other charges following his Jan. 12 court appearance. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
More charges for arson suspect

The Inuvik man charged in relation to the fire at Ryder Apartments… Continue reading

The grace period for the new Yukon lobbyist registry has come to an end and those who seek to influence politicians will now need to report their efforts to a public database. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)
Grace period for new lobbyist registry ends

So far nine lobbyists have registered their activities with politicians in the territory

Most Read