Debates shifts over Middle McIntyre Creek

Debates shifts over Middle McIntyre Creek There was a very significant shift in the conversation at the city's Porter Creek D Public information session on Dec. 12, 2012. The title of this event as well as a mapping exercise planned for the evening, ess

There was a very significant shift in the conversation at the city’s Porter Creek D Public information session on Dec. 12, 2012. The title of this event as well as a mapping exercise planned for the evening, essentially “point to where houses could go,” made it clear that our new mayor and council were still coming to the table with housing first and foremost in mind for Middle McIntyre Creek.

By the end of the evening, however, presentations by 20 people all speaking against further planning for the Porter Creek D subdivision, had shifted the focus back to the true conversation we need – not “where should houses go in Middle McIntyre Creek?” but “what is the best use of Middle McIntyre Creek?”

One of the speakers that evening who cut to the heart of the matter with his comments and helped effect this shift was Rolf Hougen, former chancellor of Yukon College. Mr. Hougen stated, and I paraphrase: The city would save a lot of money and time if it proceeded with planning for Middle McIntyre Creek having withdrawn any intention of having housing in that area.

It seemed clear to Mr. Hougen, as it has been to many others, that any future planning for Middle McIntyre Creek should not be planning for houses but rather planning for use that protects and enhances the recreational, educational and environmental values of the area.

Mr. Hougen firmly stated to mayor and council that he feels the forests, wetlands and trails of the Middle McIntyre Creek area should be endowed to Yukon College. This is a topic that has been unresolved since at least 1992 when the Yukon Department of Education hosted an information meeting to discuss management of college endowment lands.

A map produced at the time showed the endowment lands encompassing all the undeveloped land north of the college between Mountainview Drive and the Alaska Highway, south of Porter Creek. Proposed at that time was a board made up of representatives from the City of Whitehorse, Yukon College and the Yukon government who would develop a land-use plan for the area for public review and comment.

At the Dec. 12 meeting, speakers made it clear that should the college be endowed these lands, they would bring the same values, concerns and interests to the college table as they have to the city’s.

A recommendation will be made by administration to city council whether to proceed with further planning and on January 14, mayor and council will vote. Citizens made it clear on Dec. 12, yet again, that they do not want further planning for the proposed Porter Creek D subdivision.

How will council respond? Sink more money into planning a subdivision that no one wants and is not needed? Or use their citizens’ energies productively and move forward on a new plan for the area that is truly visionary, and will see it continue to thrive and support recreation, education and wildlife long after we are all gone?

Christina Macdonald

Yukon Conservation Society