Austin likes some development more than others

Coun. Dave Austin doesn't want a gravel quarry in his neighbourhood.

Coun. Dave Austin doesn’t want a gravel quarry in his neighbourhood.

Monday, Austin wrote the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board laying out the problems he has with a quarry application in his Crestview neighbourhood.

“I’m very much opposed to it, both from a city council standpoint and from a resident standpoint,” said the former manager of the Yukon Chamber of Mines. “It’s too close to the subdivision and it’s really not necessary.”

It would be easy to approve if it weren’t in an “ecologically significant wildlife area,” he added.

“I have personal knowledge of black bear and moose in this area.”

Cee & Cee Gravel wants to assess the viability of developing a quarry 300 metres from the subdivision.

“The project will place undue stress on the community of Crestview and its residents,” wrote Austin.

There are already plans in the works to develop a quarry a kilometre away, the site is in an environmentally sensitive area and prohibited by the city’s Official Community Plan, said Austin in his letter.

But his neighbours are stressed about a different development proposal – a greenspace-destroying housing development that Austin supports.

At Monday’s city council meeting, more than 50 people attended a public hearing about proposed housing lots on greenspace in Crestview and Porter Creek.

“It’s short sighted,” said Margaret Donnelly, secretary for the Crestview Community Association, one of 12 people who expressed the communities’ concerns.

“We need to plan not just for today, but for our future.”

The ad hoc rezoning of greenspace – a luxury homeowners payed a premium to be near – would set a dangerous precedent, she said.

“Every zone in the city is at risk to be developed,” said Donnelly. “There is no protection if it can be changed at any time.

“Environmental protection will just mean it’s waiting to be developed.”

If the city really needs to free up land for housing, there is an old campground nearby that would be perfect, she said.

The housing lots are a stopgap measure to abate the current shortage, and a mistake, said resident Michael Jansen.

Putting housing ahead of greenspace could set a trend in the city, he added, echoing Donnelly’s concern.

“The infilling of greenspace will be your legacy,” Jansen told council, to applause from the gallery.

In a survey to gauge public support for the infill project, most residents opposed the plan, said resident Cam Koss.

Though it wasn’t an option on the survey, 60 per cent of respondents wrote “no infill” on the form, he said.

“They weren’t going to fall into the trap,” said Koss.

The city also received 27 written submissions expressing concern about the proposed development.

Some echo Austin’s written opposition to the gravel quarry.

It’s unfair to compare the two developments, said Austin.

“We’re talking an industrial quarry as opposed to four or five houses on the street that are going to add some new neighbours,” he said.

The fear that some of the homeowners have about the infill degrading their property values is unfounded, said Austin.

“If anything, they’ll increase,” he said. “Anyone who is going to build up there is going to build a decent home.

“It’s going to add to the real estate value on the street, not take away from it.”

This development plan won’t solve the city’s shortage of rental units, but infill is necessary for Whitehorse’s continued growth, said Austin.

“We just can’t keep expanding outwards,” he said. “The bottom line is that my house is sitting on a piece of ground that was somebody else’s greenspace, and I think everyone else is in the same boat.”

Contact Josh Kerr at

joshk@yukon-news.com

Just Posted

Whether the dust jacket of this historical novel is the Canadian version (left) or the American (right), the readable content within is the same. (Michael Gates)
History Hunter: New novel a gripping account of the gold rush

Stampede: Gold Fever and Disaster in the Klondike is an ‘enjoyable and readable’ account of history

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Your furnace and your truck need to go

Perhaps the biggest commitment in the NDP deal with the Liberals was boosting the Yukon’s climate target

Awaken Festival organizers Meredith Pritchard, Colin Wolf, Martin Nishikawa inside the Old Firehall in Whitehorse on May 11. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Performing arts fest plans to awaken artistic talent in Whitehorse and the rural North

‘A value of ours is to make theatre as accessible as possible.’

April Mikkelsen tosses a disc during a ladies only disc golf tournament at Solstice DiscGolfPark on May 8. John Tonin/Yukon News
Yukon sees its first-ever women’s disc golf tournament

The Professional Disc Golf Assocation had a global women’s event last weekend. In the Yukon, a women’s only tournament was held for the first time ever.

Dave Blottner, executive director at the Whitehorse Food Bank, said the food bank upped its services because of the pandemic. (John Tonin/Yukon News)
Food Bank sees Yukoners’ generosity firsthand

“Businesses didn’t know if they could stay open but they were calling us to make sure we were able to stay open.”

A prescribed burn is seen from the lookout at Range Road and Whistle Bend Way in Whitehorse May 12. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Editorial: Are you ready for a forest fire?

Citizens for a Firesmart Whitehorse have listed some steps for Yukoners to boost safety and awareness

Caribou pass through the Dempster Highway area in their annual migration. A recent decision by the privacy commissioner has recommended the release of some caribou collar re-location data. (Justin Kennedy/Yukon News)
Privacy commissioner recommends release of caribou location data

Department of Environment says consultation with its partners needed before it will consider release

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Family pleased youth will be able to get Pfizer vaccine

Angela Drainville, mother of two, is anxious for a rollout plan to come forward

Safe at home office in Whitehorse on May 10, 2021. (John Tonin/Yukon News)
Federal government provides $1.6 million for Yukon anti-homelessness work

Projects including five mobile homes for small communities received funding.

Drilling at Northern Tiger’s 3Ace gold project in 2011. Randi Newton argues that mining in the territory can be reshaped. (Yukon government/file)
Editorial: There’s momentum for mining reform

CPAWS’ Randi Newton argues that the territory’s mining legislations need a substantial overhaul

At its May 10 meeting, Whitehorse city council approved the subdivision for the Kwanlin Dün First Nation’s business park planned in Marwell. (Submitted)
KDFN business park subdivision approved

Will mean more commercial industrial land available in Whitehorse

Main Street in Whitehorse on May 4. Whitehorse city council has passed the first two readings of a bylaw to allow pop-up patios in city parking spaces. Third reading will come forward later in May. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Whitehorse council pursuing restaurant patio possibilities

Council passes first two readings for new patio bylaw

Most Read