Members of the Porter Creek D Working Group took a walk in the woods the other day.
With the clear sound of McIntyre Creek in our ears, we moved alongside wetlands, through old growth spruce forest, over swampy tussocks and up sandy ridges distinctive with their white-barked aspen forests
Animal tracks, and not just human and dog, peppered the newly fallen snow wherever we walked.
The walk ended at a high point with a south-facing view.
From there, the group got a good look at where the proposed Porter Creek D subdivision and accompanying roads would be located: a massive, unbroken crescent of development, sweeping from Mountainview Drive to the Alaska Highway, covering much of the land we had just walked across.
This walk certainly showcased the forests and recreational trails that will be lost if the proposed developments in the Middle McIntyre Creek area proceed.
It also revealed a disturbing weakness in the planning process that shapes Whitehorse development.
The purpose of the walkthrough was to give the planners who accompanied us an opportunity to indicate to the group the boundaries of the proposed Porter Creek D subdivision and the location of proposed roads.
They could do so when boundaries coincided with existing power line right-of-ways, however, elsewhere it was much less clear.
We were told these details would not be available until after the land has been surveyed. And the land does not get surveyed until after the projects have been approved.
On November 3, there will be a public open house about the proposed development of Porter Creek D and roads along and across McIntyre Creek from 5 to 9 p.m. at the High Country Inn. After that, there will be three weeks for public input. Then, on December 12, council plans to decide whether to give the projects the go-ahead.
Genuine consultation cannot occur if the public doesn’t know the nature of what they’re being consulted on. The city is proposing developments that would have enormous impacts on the ecological, recreational and educational values of the area.
The public needs clarity now before the subdivision and roads have been approved and the bulldozers have moved in.
Christina Macdonald, Yukon Conservation Society