Mayor defends Whistle Bend

Mayor defends Whistle Bend I would like to respond to statements regarding the Whistle Bend development made by Sandy Silver, interim leader of the Yukon Liberal Party and MLA for the Klondike, and Kate White, MLA for Takhini, during proceedings of the

I would like to respond to statements regarding the Whistle Bend development made by Sandy Silver, interim leader of the Yukon Liberal Party and MLA for the Klondike, and Kate White, MLA for Takhini, during proceedings of the Yukon Legislative Assembly.

Recently, I attended the Northern Housing Conference where Avi Friedman, an expert on affordable housing, spoke of the importance of dense, walkable, transit-friendly neighbourhoods that provide affordable housing options. I was impressed with the presentation as it validated much of the city’s planning work in relation to the Whistle Bend development in terms of making a range of lot sizes and types (detached, semi-detached, multifamily homes) available for development. I was, therefore, surprised to learn of the criticisms of the Whistle Bend development, particularly those in relation to lot size.

In my view, the city’s focus on neighbourhoods with a smaller footprint is particularly important if we are to assure a stable supply of affordable housing for the future. I believe Whistle Bend’s 3,500 units achieve this goal. By limiting the size of these lots, we sought to lower land development costs by spreading the total development costs over more lots. This is what keeps the cost down. You can’t have bigger urban lot sizes for a lower price tag.

The high-density approach employed at Whistle Bend has additional benefits. Smaller lots allowed the city to retain half of the 700-hectare site as park land. By establishing a neighbourhood over a smaller area we are able to conserve wilderness area. We also expect to see a variety of shops and services in this area, at a level no other neighbourhood in the city will have. Finally, the cost of providing services, such as municipal transit and snowplowing, and maintaining roads, sidewalks, and water and infrastructure, is more efficient and less costly.

Most importantly, our studies show only increasing demand for smaller housing. The two largest segments of the home-buying market are looking for smaller rather than larger homes. These are the “baby boomers” looking to downsize, and their children, the first time home-buyers, seeking reasonably-priced housing.

I do not accept the suggestion that Whistle Bend suffers from “poor planning.” To the contrary, the planning at Whistle Bend stands as the most inclusive land-planning engagement process in the Yukon’s history, and strongly reflects the public’s demand for sustainable land development.

Certainly, many lots remain available for purchase. I prefer this situation, however, to the situation in our recent past when a shortage in available lots caused a housing crisis. In closing, I support the work of our planning services department, as did the Association of Yukon Municipalities and Yukon Energy when in 2007 they awarded the city the Yukon Sustainable Communities Award to recognize our inclusive, sustainable planning approach to the Whistle Bend development.

Mayor Dan Curtis


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

Just Posted

Jodie Gibson has been named the 2020 Prospector of the Year by the Yukon Prospectors Association. (Submitted)
Jodie Gibson named 2020 Prospector of the Year

Annual award handed out by the Yukon Prospector’s Association

A number 55 is lit in honour of Travis Adams, who died earlier this year, at the Winter Wonderland Walk at Meadow Lakes Golf Club in Whitehorse on Nov. 24. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
A new take on holiday traditions

Winter Wonderland Walk, virtual Stories with Santa all part of 2020 festive events in Whitehorse

Eric Schroff, executive director with the Yukon Fish and Game Association, poses for a portrait on Feb. 20. Schroff says he is puzzled as to why the Yukon government is cutting back on funding for the association. (Jackie Hong/Yukon News file)
YG cuts Yukon Fish and Game Association funding, tried to vet outgoing communications

Yukon Fish and Game Association says 25 per cent government funding cut will impact operations


Wyatt’s World for Nov. 27, 2020

Premier Sandy Silver during a live update on the COVID-19 situation at a press conference in Whitehorse on March 27. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Total Yukon COVID case count increased to 42 cases

Premier urges patience after national meeting on vaccine roll-out

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

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

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Karen Wenkebach has been appointed as a judge for the Yukon Supreme Court. (Yukon News file)
New justice appointed

Karen Wenckebach has been appointed as a judge for the Supreme Court… Continue reading

Catherine Constable, the city’s manager of legislative services, speaks at a council and senior management (CASM) meeting about CASM policy in Whitehorse on June 13, 2019. Constable highlighted research showing many municipalities require a lengthy notice period before a delegate can be added to the agenda of a council meeting. Under the current Whitehorse procedures bylaw, residents wanting to register as delegates are asked to do so by 11 a.m. on the Friday ahead of the council meeting. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Changes continue to be contemplated for procedures bylaw

Registration deadline may be altered for delegates

Cody Pederson of the CA Storm walks around LJ’s Sabres player Clay Plume during the ‘A’ division final of the 2019 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament. The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28 in Whitehorse next year, was officially cancelled on Nov. 24 in a press release from organizers. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file)
2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament cancelled

The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28… Continue reading

Lev Dolgachov/123rf
The Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner stressed the need to safeguard personal information while shopping this holiday season in a press release on Nov. 24.
Information and Privacy Commissioner issues reminder about shopping

The Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner Diane McLeod-McKay stressed the need to… Continue reading

Keith Lay speaks at a city council meeting on Dec. 4, 2017. Lay provided the lone submission to council on the city’s proposed $33 million capital spending plan for 2021 on Nov. 23, taking issue with a number of projects outlined. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Resident raises issues with city’s capital budget

Council to vote on budget in December

Most Read