A developer shall save us, says Graham

Monday, councillor Doug Graham suggested Whitehorse find a private developer to complete the Porter Creek D development.

Monday, councillor Doug Graham suggested Whitehorse find a private developer to complete the Porter Creek D development.

Putting lots in this area would be the quickest way to relieve the city’s housing market shortage over the next few years, said Graham.

A private developer could complete the work much more quickly than the city itself.

“Private developers don’t have to deal with as much bureaucracy that we deal with in terms of letting contracts or tenders,” said Graham.

“And most developers that are doing projects of any size have a team already in place that does the plan and the physical work, in terms of putting water and sewer in the ground.

“It would be a lot quicker than what we’re doing right now.”

If Graham can get the other councillors to agree, it will be the first time the city contracted an entire subdivision to a private developer.

The city says it will have lots for sale in the new Stan McCowan development this year, Graham noted.

But construction won’t be able to start until 2009.

And that’s only if everything goes smoothly, he added.

The lot shortage could lose the city jobs in the building industry.

“I hear already that we’re losing tradesmen,” said Graham.

“We’ve done it before. We don’t need to do it again.”

The city could provide more single-family lots with the accelerated development of Porter Creek D.

“Basically, we need to get it done because nothing is happening in that area whatsoever right now,” said Graham.

“We haven’t started any planning, we haven’t done anything.”

The subject arose as council debated before passing the new Takhini North Subdivision pre-design concept.

Graham was concerned about the number of multifamily units the city is putting in Takhini North as well as in the Stan McCowan and Arkell developments.

“These aren’t going to sell as quickly as the single-family or even the duplexes and we don’t have the builders or developers in town necessary to develop this amount of multifamily housing,” he said.

“I think it’s going to be a problem.”

Councillor Jan Stick disagreed with Graham that multi-residential units wouldn’t sell.

There are other multi-residential developments throughout the city and people seem willing to buy them, said Stick.

Even if council started developing Porter Creek D, it won’t be ready this year.

Whitehorse city council has heard a number of comments on the new development in Takhini North.

But Monday night was the first time a delegate stated their case through song.

“Everyone’s a cra-a-a-an-ber-ry,” sang Riley Olsen, a student at Takhini Elementary School.

“We need the sun, water and rain. We need shade, trees and forests…”

Olsen submitted a petition to save the forested area behind her school from the development with the signatures of 87 of her fellow students.

Some teachers signed the petition as well with only two refusing, said Olsen.

The petition had 109 signatures in total.

The students use this area to play and learn about nature, said Olsen.

It’s also a good place to pick cranberries.