Mt. Sima residents beware

I am very worried and totally disagree with lumping service industrial zones with major industrial zones in the proposed changes to the Official Community Plan. The existing OCP identifies and separates the three industrial zone

I am very worried and totally disagree with lumping service industrial zones with major industrial zones in the proposed changes to the Official Community Plan.

The existing OCP identifies and separates the three industrial zones, but the new OCP is proposing to lump two of them together. In the present city bylaws and the OCP, service industrial zoning is very similar to commercial industrial zoning and both are very different from major industrial zoning.

The proposed changes to the OCP are guiding council to lump service industrial into the same category as major industrial while maintaining a distinction for commercial industrial.

The proposed OCP amendment guides council to amalgamate and designate service industrial and major industrial under one heading to be known as industrial and (and I quote):

“To permit industrial activities that provide industrial services, light manufacturing, warehousing, and storage. This designation would also allow for intensive resource extraction and larger processing manufacturing activities located away from residential areas. The intensity of industrial development is subject to proper zoning.”

The problem with lumping the industrial zones together in the OCP is council could turn service industrial lots into major industrial by a simple vote in council and still conform to the proposed official community plan. They would not require an amendment to the OCP, nor the necessary degree of consultation that should go along with such an amendment.

I asked the city, “Why the change?”, and the response was, ease of reading and to make the plan less complicated. The explanation of this proposed change is stated as coming from public input. I would like to know from whom.

I, a service industrial lot owner, was unaware of such a drastic change until I read through the proposed changes to the OCP. I talked to a number of other service industrial owners and Mt. Sima residential owners who also were not aware of such a proposed change until I mentioned it; and none of them liked or supported it. This “simplification” causes more confusion and misguidance to council and residents.

To ensure security in process and a broad understanding of what land uses may or may not be permitted, it is essential all zones are absolutely differentiated and identified in the OCP.

Service industrial must be separated and distinguished from major industrial. I and my neighbours bought service industrial lots in good faith, and do not want to have, or be next to, major industrial activities.

I would also suspect that the residents of the new Mt. Sima residential subdivision may not want to be next to major industrial applications such as “intensive resource extraction and larger processing manufacturing activities.”

To simply resolve this, council could and should separate service industrial from major industrial in the OCP and its maps. I encourage anyone with the same concern to contact council or e-mail your comments to ocp@whitehorse.ca.

The deadline for OCP comments is April 1st.

Ian Pumphrey

Whitehorse