Recently, the Yukon Conservation Society sent a couple of questions to all candidates regarding their positions on the proposed Porter Creek D development. I would like to clarify my position, as my answers were not forwarded in time to be printed in your article concerning this issue.
It is a contentious issue that often allows emotion to get in the way rather than logic and reason. So I think we have to be careful and consider all angles before making a decision.
We all seem to agree there is a housing crunch. I believe this problem was created by inadequate planning – whomever is responsible, the city, Yukon government, private developers – it does not matter anymore – let’s deal with it and make sure our elected representatives make sure it does not happen again.
I believe Porter Creek will be developed sooner or later. It is inevitable. We may postpone it, but it will happen. If Yukon College, for example, becomes a university, it would make sense to have this area developed for future student residences and young families.
It seems to me whether to do it now or later is the real issue; let’s also not forget the city has set aside 80 per cent of this area as parkland – Porter Creek D represents 20 per cent. A pretty fair tradeoff, I would say. I also really believe a compromise can be found to protect the most important parts of this site.
The only alternative for me is to develop downtown alongside the clay cliffs and build up – I am a very strong supporter of this, as I believe we need to densify rather than sprawl. If alternate sites cannot be found that have the same access for infrastructure and cost effectiveness, then I am for developing Porter Creek D. Other sites may be available, but whether they are ready to go in a timely fashion is another matter – while we debate and haggle over another proposed site we may very well create more of a housing crisis, never mind the costs to the city and to you, the taxpayer.
We live in a city – a beautiful, unique city – but unlike our neighbors to the south we do not have space issues. We are surrounded by nature – take a five-minute drive past city limits and it’s all there for you. Our city is growing and will continue to do so. We must realize that, as more people come here, they are going to need homes, and we must have a wide variety available for them. As this happens, greenspace in our city is going to be affected; we must accept this, or start building some walls.
Mining is booming, and other sectors of our economy are being developed – it’s true that, at the moment, a lot of workers come here and leave and do not maintain residences or have their families here. But they are the vanguard, soon folks are going to start settling down. Let’s be prepared for the inevitable and not get caught in the crunch again.
Patrick Singh, candidate