A free ride on Whistle Bend

Whitehorse and the territory need to hammer out policy protecting the municipality against the cost of hooking new, private developments into city infrastructure, say politicians.

Whitehorse and the territory need to hammer out policy protecting the municipality against the cost of hooking new, private developments into city infrastructure, say politicians.

The city’s water, sewer and roadway systems are being extended to service Whistle Bend subdivision.

However there are two large parcels of private property directly beside it.

Neither the Heiland family nor the Ta’an Kwach’an Council, which own these parcels, have announced whether they plan to develop their properties.

The city infrastructure can handle the future development, said engineering manager Wayne Tuck.

But there’s a cost to hooking such development into city roads and pipes.

“They would get a benefit by having all these development costs installed – new road, water and sewer that they can tap into,” he said. “How, or whether, in fact, they should pay a portion of that is up to YTG and further discussions with the city.”

Whistle Bend is a Yukon government project, said city planner Kinden Kosick. However, once built, it will be turned over to the city to maintain.

That has Councillor Doug Graham warning against permitting what he calls a “free ride.

“It is our problem because, after this initial development is done, we’re the one that will have to handle the cost for any future upgrades and things like that,” said Graham. “When we’re talking about the potential of hundreds of lots down there, the potential for downstream costs for the city is phenomenal. So we have to get that money. It is our problem and we have to fix it.”

So Graham is proposing a latecomer’s fee – a policy that decides how people should be charged for developing and hooking up to infrastructure that is already in place.

It is something the territorial and municipal government have agreed to start talking about, said Tuck. And it’s a policy that will be applicable well beyond Whistle Bend.

Residents buying into the new subdivision will be paying for the water, sewer and road developments within the cost of their lots, said Graham.

Whistle Bend lots will be up for sale in 2012.

The Heiland family refused to comment at this time. Ta’an Kwach’an Council officials could not be reached before press time.

Contact Roxanne Stasyszyn at

roxannes@yukon-news.com

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