Hillcrest under threat

I believe the integrity of Hillcrest will be irreparably changed if council approves the rezoning of four lots on Hillcrest Drive to allow the owner to tear down four Steelox duplexes and replace them with a total of 16 townhouse-

I believe the integrity of Hillcrest will be irreparably changed if council approves the rezoning of four lots on Hillcrest Drive to allow the owner to tear down four Steelox duplexes and replace them with a total of 16 townhouse-style homes. This change would occur in the historic Steelox section of Hillcrest and would double the density on these lots.

If council permits rezoning of these four lots, how could similar rezoning applications be refused? A wave of demolition of affordable, accessible, one-storey homes in Hillcrest could ensue. Hillcrest, especially the Steelox area, is under threat.

It seems that the Whitehorse housing crunch is over; the supply is catching up with the demand, with the big exception of the availability of affordable housing. The current proposal for rezoning would actually decrease the amount of affordable rental housing in Hillcrest as the eight families in the four duplexes slated to be torn down would be displaced.

There is no urgency to build new townhouses, and certainly no need to decrease the number of affordable rental units in Whitehorse. Approval of the proposed zoning change would be a step backwards in the housing market and forever change the character of the Hillcrest community.

I believe an overall design for the future of Hillcrest needs to be developed by the community, and agreed to, before any one-off spot zoning changes are permitted.

Over 30 years ago, Hillcrest was threatened by another proposal: extending Hillcrest Drive westwards to be an artery road to a new subdivision being planned in the green space, namely Granger. At that time, Hillcrest residents recognized this rezoning would cause irreparable change to the nature of their neighbourhood. A community association was formed, the community was galvanized, and the proposal was rejected.

I believe the current proposed rezoning along Hillcrest Drive is a threat of similar magnitude. I believe it is the “thin edge of the wedge” of significant change in the character and integrity of Hillcrest. If residents’ concerns were able to have an impact upon community development 30-odd years ago, then hopefully the voices of residents to protect the integrity of their community will be heard again.

Residents today must express their concerns directly to mayor and council. They can write or phone mayor and council by noon on Monday, Sept. 10. Residents can also attend the public hearing scheduled for Monday, September 10 at 7:30 p.m., at the city council meeting, or make a presentation then.

Hopefully, the voices of Hillcrest residents will once again be able to protect the integrity of Hillcrest and block the current rezoning application. Council is scheduled to vote on the proposed bylaw on September 24.

Jim Gilpin

Whitehorse

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

Just Posted

Dr. Brendan Hanley, Yukon’s chief medical officer of health, speaks at a press conference in Whitehorse on March 30. Hanley announced three more COVID-19 cases in a release on Nov. 21. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Three more COVID-19 cases, new exposure notice announced

The Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Brendan Hanley, announced three… Continue reading

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: COVID-19 strikes another blow at high-school students

They don’t show up very often in COVID-19 case statistics, but they… Continue reading

The Cornerstone housing project under construction at the end of Main Street in Whitehorse on Nov. 19. Community Services Minister John Streicker said he will consult with the Yukon Contractors Association after concerns were raised in the legislature about COVID-19 isolation procedures for Outside workers at the site. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Concerns raised about alternate self-isolation plans for construction

Minister Streicker said going forward, official safety plans should be shared across a worksite

The Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley, pictured at a press conference in October, announced three new cases of COVID-19 on Nov. 20 as well as a new public exposure notice. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
New COVID-19 cases, public exposure notice announced

The new cases have all been linked to previous cases

Beatrice Lorne was always remembered by gold rush veterans as the ‘Klondike Nightingale’. (Yukon Archives/Maggies Museum Collection)
History Hunter: Beatrice Lorne — The ‘Klondike Nightingale’

In June of 1929, 11 years after the end of the First… Continue reading

Samson Hartland is the executive director of the Yukon Chamber of Mines. The Yukon Chamber of Mines elected a new board of directors during its annual general meeting held virtually on Nov. 17. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Yukon Chamber of Mines elects new board

The Yukon Chamber of Mines elected a new board of directors during… Continue reading

The Yukon Hospital Corporation has released its annual report for 2019-20, and — unsurprisingly — hospital visitations were down. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Annual report says COVID-19 had a large impact visitation numbers at Whitehorse General

The Yukon Hospital Corporation has released its annual report for 2019-20, and… Continue reading

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

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

City council was closed to public on March 23 due to gathering rules brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The council is now hoping there will be ways to improve access for residents to directly address council, even if it’s a virtual connection. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Solution sought to allow for more public presentations with council

Teleconference or video may provide opportunities, Roddick says

Megan Waterman, director of the Lastraw Ranch, is using remediated placer mine land in the Dawson area to raise local meat in a new initiative undertaken with the Yukon government’s agriculture branch. (Submitted)
Dawson-area farm using placer miner partnership to raise pigs on leased land

“Who in their right mind is going to do agriculture at a mining claim? But this made sense.”

Riverdale residents can learn more details of the City of Whitehorse’s plan to FireSmart a total of 24 hectares in the area of Chadburn Lake Road and south of the Hidden Lakes trail at a meeting on Nov. 26. (Ian Stewart/Yukon News file)
Meeting will focus on FireSmart plans

Riverdale residents will learn more details of the City of Whitehorse’s FireSmarting… Continue reading

The City of Whitehorse is planning to borrow $10 million to help pay for the construction of the operations building (pictured), a move that has one concillor questioning why they don’t just use reserve funds. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Councillor questions borrowing plan

City of Whitehorse would borrow $10 million for operations building

Most Read