With all the talk around the tank farm project, the Hillcrest Community Association wanted to take a moment to clarify some issues that have come up in the media and at various public meetings.
First and foremost, the residents of Hillcrest support remediation of the tank farm and responsible housing development on the site. That it is a private company that is proposing to undertake this massive project is all the more commendable.
Regardless of who is undertaking the work, though, all Whitehorse residents deserve an opportunity to see the project assessed through Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board before any decisions are made by city council.
This project is more than a housing development. It is the removal of up to one million cubic metres of contaminated soil and up to three million cubic metres of uncontaminated soil, over a period of more than five years, according to the developer. That scale and scope requires appropriate review and adequate technical assessment.
When the Official Community Plan amendment to allow for this work came forward, council made the prudent decision to defer any amendments until after the assessment board process was allowed to conclude. We commend council for taking this step and we feel that we have a right to expect them to stick to their decision.
This week there was a meeting between the city, the developers and the residents. It was a good start and can form the basis of an ongoing conversation about how to ensure the project proceeds safely and appropriately. But in and of itself, it does not alter any views nor did it provide substantially different information. It was a first step and one we can all build on, so long as nothing is rushed through the various processes.
As an association, we look forward to continuing to work with the city and developer throughout the assessment and into the project-implementation phase. We urge city council to support that process by abiding by the decision made the last time this issue came to a vote, on Sept. 24.
Board, Hillcrest Community