Whitehorse city council has confirmed residents will again get a chance to have their say on a proposed Official Community Plan amendment to change the designation of a 7.3-hectare piece of land near Wasson Place inside the former tank farm site for industrial use.
Council members voted July 13 in favour of hosting a second public hearing on the proposed OCP amendment along with a number of other changes for the tank farm area as well.
“There’s still plenty of steps ahead,” Coun. Samson Hartland noted before voting in favour of the potential changes that still have to go through second and third reading.
The additional changes would see council have more direct control over the tank farm area in establishing the site as a direct control district under the Municipal Act and would remove policies around the remediation of the tank farm as that work is now substantially completed.
Section 291 of the Municipal Act states the direct control district may be established if the city “wants to directly control the use and development of land or buildings in the area individually rather than establish rules common to all buildings and land in the area.”
Developers of the tank farm applied to change the OCP designation of the 7.3-ha section from Residential – Urban to Mixed-Use – Industrial/Commercial as it is not suitable for residential development given the deep depressions in the ground there.
Council sent the matter back to administration in June after the proponent was issued a violation order for hauling material from the site without authorization in order that it be dealt with ahead of any OCP change.
No further hauling has taken place since the violation order and it is now clear permits will be required before any further hauling could begin.
The application came back for council July 6 to reconsider the changes. It was also recommended that a second public hearing be scheduled.
Council was unanimous in voting to go ahead with the public hearing and work the changes into the bylaw ahead of second reading. Coun. Steve Roddick said that while he’s not sure where he ultimately stands on the matter, he wants to hear from residents about it during the public hearing.
Before the vote though, members questioned what the new timeline will look like for work to happen in the area.
Mike Gau, the city’s director of development services, told council the public hearing would be held Aug. 10. If after the public hearing, council approves second reading of the OCP change, it will have to go through a ministerial review at the territorial level which can take up to 45 days.
A change in zoning would then be required, which would trigger another council process taking weeks, and that (if approved) would be followed by development permits and other requirements needed for any work to begin.
That means work on the site won’t happen until at least the 2021 construction season, Gau said.
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