Big changes on the horizon for Hillcrest

City councillors and Whitehorse residents gathered at the Yukon Transportation Museum Tuesday night to review plans for the Hillcrest neighbourhood.

City councillors and Whitehorse residents gathered at the Yukon Transportation Museum Tuesday night to review plans for the Hillcrest neighbourhood.

Poster boards displayed information about a proposal to clean up the tank farm, the neighbourhood’s local improvement project and upcoming neighbourhood plan.

The information about the tank farm was more about the procedures involved in the project than it was about specific details, said Ben Campbell with the city’s planning department.

The city wanted to clarify what the municipality’s role in the project is, he said.

Earlier this year, Mike Mickey and Pramjit Sidhu put forward a plan to clean up the tank farm and build a housing development on the 57-hectare parcel of land between Valleyview and Hillcrest. 

For decades the site was used to store diesel and heating oil, which leached into the soil.

Area residents had concerns about the noise, pollution and odours that could be caused by a cleanup. The Hillcrest Community Association wanted the city to wait until environmental assessments were finished before it made any amendments to the Official Community Plan.

The city councillors originally voted to wait.

Sidhu complained that putting off the OCP amendment would in effect delay the project for an entire year.

In an unusual move, outgoing mayor Bev Buckway tabled a motion for council to reconsider its decision.

In the end, council reversed its original decision and voted to amend the OCP, after being assured that they weren’t giving tacit approval to the project.

The motion still has to pass third reading. It will come back before the new city council on Dec. 10.

If the OCP amendment is approved, the project has to go through an environmental assessment and then the city can consider a rezoning application.

Before the city can accept any proposal to clean up the tank farm, the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board has to finish its assessment and the territory has to issue a decision document, said Campbell.

Tuesday’s meeting was also a chance for new city councillors to gather more information.

Coun. John Streicker said building housing close to downtown is important. He would approve looking at the OCP, but he wants to see what will happen in the environmental assessment process, he said.

“The tank farm is attractive because it’s right in the heart of town,” he said.

Coun. Mike Gladish also approves cleanup at the site. It’s in the city’s best interests to encourage and support the idea, he said. But he also said it’s hard to tell what will happen until the process starts. While the city can regulate noise at the site, it’s harder to control dust.

The Hillcrest Community Association wants to make sure the project goes through all the proper environmental assessments before the city makes final zoning decisions to allow quarrying to start, said association president Jean-Paul Molgat.

The association is not opposed to the project, it just wants more clarity about how long the project will take and what the impacts will be, he said.

“It’s the juxtaposition of a residential neighbourhood immediately adjacent to a quarry that has people concerned about things like noise levels, dust, operations, visual issues and esthetics,” he said. Some are also concerned about how the project will affect residents who won’t be able to use the trail around the tank farm while the cleanup is happening.

The city is also starting a public consultation process to produce a formal neighbourhood plan for Hillcrest. The neighbourhood association requested a plan to be made after the Dhillon family asked to have their property’s zoning changed. They want to tear down their Steelox buildings and replace them with 10-metre-high townhouses.

The city recently awarded $20,000 to make the community plan. A schedule for consultations will be made in February. They are expected to last until June.

The city also presented information about the neighbourhood’s local improvement project. The water pipes in Hillcrest are the originals. The city has been updating water pipes in different neighbourhoods over the past couple years.

“It’s just kind of our turn,” said Molgat.

The project is still in the pre-design phase. More than half of the affected property owners have to vote to approve the changes before work can be done. If the project doesn’t get that approval, the city has to wait a year before bringing the project forward again.

The earliest a vote could happen is next October.

If approved, residents will have to pay for one-third of the surface work done in the front of their properties. They will also have to pay approximately $1,700 for plumbing upgrades to the insides of their houses, and another $450 for sewer service replacements. That replacement is not required, but is recommended.

The money can be paid all at once, or over a 15-year period.

Construction could begin as early as 2015. It will be phased over three to four years. Properties on Sunset Drive North will not be affected.

People who want to update their plumbing before the project begins should consult with the city first to make sure their projects won’t conflict with the city’s plans.

Betty Irwin was the only city councillor not at the session. Mayor Dan Curtis was also absent.

Contact Meagan Gillmore at

mgillmore@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Benjamin Poudou, Mount MacIntyre’s ski club manager, poses for a photo in the club’s ski rental area on Nov. 16. The club has sold around 1,850 passes already this year, compared to 1067 passes on Oct. 31 last year. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Early season ski pass sales up as Yukoners prepare for pandemic winter

Season passe sales at Mount McIntyre for cross-country skiing are up by around 60 per cent this year

The City of Whitehorse will be spending $655,000 to upgrade the waste heat recovery system at the Canada Games Centre. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
New waste heat recovery system coming to the CGC

Council approves $655,000 project

Yukon First Nation Education Directorate education advocates and volunteers help to sort and distribute Christmas hamper grocery boxes outside Elijah Smith Elementary School on Feb. 23. (Rebecca Bradford Andrew/Submitted)
First Nation Education Directorate begins Christmas hamper program

Pick-ups for hampers are scheduled at local schools

Cyrine Candido, cashier, right, wipes down the new plexi-glass dividers at Superstore on March 28, before it was commonplace for them to wear masks. The Yukon government is relaunching the Yukon Essential Workers Income Support Program as the second wave of COVID-19 begins to take place in the territory. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Yukon Essential Workers Income Support Program extended to 32 weeks

More than 100 businesses in the territory applied for the first phase of the program

Cody Pederson of the CA Storm walks around LJ’s Sabres player Clay Plume during the ‘A’ division final of the 2019 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament. The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28 in Whitehorse next year, was officially cancelled on Nov. 24 in a press release from organizers. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file)
2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament cancelled

The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28… Continue reading

Lev Dolgachov/123rf
The Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner stressed the need to safeguard personal information while shopping this holiday season in a press release on Nov. 24.
Information and Privacy Commissioner issues reminder about shopping

The Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner Diane McLeod-McKay stressed the need to… Continue reading

Keith Lay speaks at a city council meeting on Dec. 4, 2017. Lay provided the lone submission to council on the city’s proposed $33 million capital spending plan for 2021 on Nov. 23, taking issue with a number of projects outlined. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Resident raises issues with city’s capital budget

Council to vote on budget in December

Beatrice Lorne was always remembered by gold rush veterans as the ‘Klondike Nightingale’. (Yukon Archives/Maggies Museum Collection)
History Hunter: Beatrice Lorne — The ‘Klondike Nightingale’

In June of 1929, 11 years after the end of the First… Continue reading

Samson Hartland is the executive director of the Yukon Chamber of Mines. The Yukon Chamber of Mines elected a new board of directors during its annual general meeting held virtually on Nov. 17. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Yukon Chamber of Mines elects new board

The Yukon Chamber of Mines elected a new board of directors during… Continue reading

The Yukon Hospital Corporation has released its annual report for 2019-20, and — unsurprisingly — hospital visitations were down. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Annual report says COVID-19 had a large impact visitation numbers at Whitehorse General

The Yukon Hospital Corporation has released its annual report for 2019-20, and… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Most Read