A drive towards greener development

The new Arkell development could become Whitehorse’s first efficient, low-energy housing neighbourhood.

The new Arkell development could become Whitehorse’s first efficient, low-energy housing neighbourhood.

Narrower streets, preservation of existing tree cover, orienting home windows to take advantage of passive-solar heating and the possibility of geothermal power are all possible components of the “alternative building standards” developers hope to work into the project.

“It’s not rocket science,” said Ian Robertson, owner and chief developer of Inukshuk Planning, which is overseeing the project.

The project’s alternative development concepts aren’t “anything out of the ordinary,” he added.

Rocket science or not, these new concepts represent a new direction for Yukon construction.

“People in the North tend to be fairly conservative in what they build… the basic building principles haven’t changed for years,” said Robertson.

 Arkell’s new development is a project for our times.

“Construction costs are out of control in Western Canada… people are now saying ‘OK, we have to do this more efficiently,’” said Robertson.

To date, only a few Yukon buildings have adopted certain elements of energy-saving design, said Robertson, noting the Gold Rush Inn’s solar panels (installed in the early ‘90s) as well as a new administration building for Mayo’s Nacho Nyak Dun First Nation, which utilizes geothermal heating.

“We are looking at potential benefits to ensure that these changes continue,” said Mike Gau, Whitehorse’s manager of planning and development services.

While the city can’t provide direct financial support, design and density requirements could encourage more efficient developments in future, said Gau.

Planners also hope the Arkell development will bolster the affordable housing market, which “hasn’t been addressed for some years.”

“There’s a disconnect (in Whitehorse) between what you can afford and what’s available,” said Robertson.

The development would consist of five different housing types, providing “a range of options to suit (Whitehorse’s) aging demographic. The houses smaller lot size is also likely to “achieve affordable housing for young families.”

The new neighbourhood’s layout is also meant to provide “more character.”

 For starters, the development is not “car priority,” said Gau.

 “Your street isn’t littered with cars. Instead it’s trees and sidewalks and people,” said Gau. “You actually get to appreciate the architecture of the buildings versus seeing only a box for your car.”

The development will also feature reduced front yard setbacks, which Robertson said will promote a “closer relationship with a more pedestrian-friendly street.”

Efficient building practices will initially be more expensive, said Gau, but with the increasing price of oil, these “additional costs could be paid back within three to 10 years.”

 “It’s a bit of an experiment now,” said Robertson, adding the new development is a “baby step” towards finding construction solutions for a changing housing environment.

Just Posted

Willow Brewster, a paramedic helping in the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre, holds a swab used for the COVID-19 test moments before using it on Nov. 24. The Yukon government is reopening the drive-thru option on June 18. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Drive-up COVID-19 testing opening June 18 in Whitehorse

The drive-up testing will be open from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. everyday and increase testing capacity by 33 spots

A draft plan has been released by the Dawson Regional Use Planning commission on June 15. Julien Gignac/Yukon News
Draft plan released by the Dawson Regional Land Use Planning Commission

Dawson Regional Land Use Commission releases draft plan, Government of Yukon withdraws additional lands from mineral staking in the planning region

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Let them live in trailers

“I found Rome a city of bricks and left it a city… Continue reading


Wyatt’s World for June 18, 2021.… Continue reading

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley. (Yukon News file)
Yukon logs nine new COVID-19 cases, 54 active cases

More CEMA enforcement officers have been recruited, officials say

Whitehorse City Hall (Yukon News file)
City news, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council at its June 14 meeting

Murray Arsenault sits in the drivers seat of his 1975 Bricklin SV1 in Whitehorse on June 16. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Bringing the 1975 Bricklin north

Murray Arsenault remembers his dad’s Bricklin, while now driving his own

A presumptive COVID case was found at Seabridge Gold’s 3 Aces project. (file photo)
Presumptive COVID-19 case reported at mine in southeast Yukon

A rapid antigen rest found a presumptive COVID case on an incoming individual arriving at the 3Aces project

Jonathan Antoine/Cabin Radio
Flooding in Fort Simpson on May 8.
Fort Simpson asked for military help. Two people showed up.

FORT SIMPSON—Residents of a flooded Northwest Territories village expected a helping hand… Continue reading

A woman was rescued from the Pioneer Ridge Trail in Alaska on June 16. (Photo courtesy/AllTrails)
Alaska hiker chased off trail by bears flags down help

ANCHORAGE (AP)—An Alaska hiker who reported needing help following bear encounters on… Continue reading

Two participants cross the finish line at the City of Whitehorse Kids Triathlon on June 12 with Mayor Dan Curtis on hand to present medals. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
2021 Kids’ Triathlon draws 76 young athletes

Youth ages five to 14 swim, run and bike their way to finish line

NDP MP Mumilaaq Qaqqaq rises in the House of Commons, in Ottawa on May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
‘Unacceptable’ that Inuk MP felt unsafe in House of Commons, Miller says

OTTAWA—It’s a “sad reflection” on Canada that an Inuk MP feels she’s… Continue reading

Lily Witten performs her Canadian Nationals beam routine on June 14. John Tonin/Yukon News
Three Yukon gymnasts break 20-year Nationals absence

Bianca Berko-Malvasio, Maude Molgat and Lily Witten competed at the Canadian Nationals – the first time in 20 years the Yukon’s been represented at the meet

Most Read