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Letter: Musings on the Proposed City Bylaw 2024 – 16

Letters to the editor


“To allow for a wider range of opportunities for residential development (read increased density) in urban residential areas.”


Under the Municipal Act the City is required to review/amend the zoning bylaws for lands which may be affected by changes to the Official Community Plan within two years of amending an OCP. The current City OCP was adopted in March 2023. Studies are now well underway for the complete bylaw review/ rewrite to be completed and placed before council January 2025. The proposed schedule for second and third reading of this bylaw is April 22, 2024. So, the question arises: “Why move to have these particular amendments passed prior to the complete review which becomes due in a few months?”


Stated intent is to increase population density by converting all single family residential zones to multi residential areas (eliminate single family residential?) primarily by allowing four (four) units per lot. Additional changes incorporate the reduction/ elimination of setback and site coverage and parking regulations. The increase or elimination of site density constraints and relaxation of living and garden suite regulations are also considered.

For a comprehensive view of proposed changes see the city web page The city has provided an informative, easy to understand detailed Redline Comparison document in addition to other information related to the overall bylaw review. Be sure to read the accompanying support documents.

To their credit the city team has done a fair job on the review of city services including recognizing possible negative effects on infrastructure and operations. It appears the few suggested amelioration efforts to offset those negative effects may well create more complex problems than what the bylaw is intended to resolve. Interesting to note is the lack of arguments in support of the changes other than densification. (Is that a positive?)

A perspective not examined or reviewed is the effect changes may have on the culture of our city. Hidden within its words is the power to alter the character, the culture of our established residential neighbourhoods. Local residents will not have any input or even notice of developmental changes within their residential area. Valid local concerns may well be overlooked. (Sound familiar?)

Apparently there exists a failure to understand or realize the character of a neighbourhood is built on the relationship between neighbours. Developments on one lot affect more than just that one individual property. Positive or negative they constitute a piece of the character of that neighbourhood. In turn, the character of that neighbourhood influences that of the adjacent neighbourhoods and on to create the culture, the soul of the entire community. Interestingly our mayor quietly brushed off any such concerns during a recent local CBC morning show interview.

So, the question…Not what do you want our city to look like in the future, but what do you want our city to be?

R. Gates

Alsek Road, Whitehorse