City council news, briefly

Some of the decisions made by Whitehorse city council Sept. 9

Council defers decision regarding North Star land

The owners of a North Star Drive property will have to wait longer than planned to find out if they can buy a five–metre strip of land — designated as a public utility lot — between their yard and Falcon Drive.

Whitehorse city council voted to defer first and second reading of the bylaw for the sale, instead asking city staff to come back with more information before a vote.

Property owners Tom Nevrtal and Sheri Lynn Lintick applied to purchase the five-metre buffer in order to have a new driveway access to their garage at their 2 North Star Drive property.

It was only after the couple had a development permit in place and began building their garage that it became clear the doors were facing Falcon Drive with the planned access across the buffer, council learned Sept 3.

Once it was clarified they couldn’t simply use the buffer, they applied and were turned down for an easement that would have allowed them access across the five-metre strip of land. They then applied to purchase it.

Coun. Dan Boyd said Sept. 9 he would rather pursue the possibility of an easement that would allow the couple to use the land without the city giving up a piece that may be needed for future utilities down the road.

Other council members agreed. Coun. Samson Hartland expressed concerns over the precedent that may be set by selling the land with Coun. Laura Cabott wondering why the city would sell when an easement accomplishes the same goal and allows the city to retain its interest in the land.

Mike Gau, the city’s director of development services, indicated the possibility of an easement could be revisited, but also reminded council of the reasons staff had brought the purchase forward.

As he explained, there’s concern around allowing the exclusive use of public land through an easement. The city also stands to financially benefit from the sale, both through the purchase itself and the ongoing additional taxes that would be collected each year. There’s also the possibility that an easement agreement would require renewing on a regular basis — possibility every 10 years.

As Boyd pointed out though ATCO Yukon Electric has an easement on his property that’s 50 years old and does not require renewal.

“I don’t believe (it has to be renewed),” he said in pushing for a motion that the matter go back to city staff to gather more information before it comes back to council again.

Other council members agreed, voting in favor of the deferral.

Whitehorse council agrees to spend 100K on pump house

New tanks for the Selkirk pump house will cost the city more than $100,000.

Council voted Sept 9 to award the $108,555 contract for the supply of the tanks to Duncan’s Ltd., the sole bidder on the contract.

The tanks need to be replaced due to cracking with repairs being needed more frequently in recent years, a staff report to council stated.

Whitehorse council holds off on approving rezoning

City of Whitehorse staff have been tasked with taking another look at the proposed rezoning of 2.27 hectares of land in the Mount Sima area, which would allow for the potential expansion of five lots that sit in front of the site.

City council voted 4-2 on Sept. 9 to defer first reading of the rezoning so staff could look at the impact the proposal would have on a trail there and the possibility of reducing the amount of land to be rezoned for lot expansions.

Coun. Dan Boyd put forward the deferral arguing as proposed the plans would push the trail quite literally next to the edge of a cliff near Crater Lake.

Boyd had initially said he’d be willing to move forward to the next reading though he was not likely vote in favour of the proposal as is at third reading, but after hearing concerns from other councillors he spoke in favour of deferring it “for further thought and discussion”.

Coun. Laura Cabott pointed out a study the city had done on commercial and industrial land has not been finished and that could impact the proposal.

She also highlighted concerns that terrain could make it difficult to relocate the trail.

Meanwhile, Coun. Samson Hartland argued this would be an unusual approach to lot expansions though as director of development services Mike Gau pointed out, the city did a similar type of expansion for lots in the Taylor industrial area, which proved successful.

Mayor Dan Curtis and Coun. Steve Roddick voted against the deferral with Roddick arguing going through the bylaw process would provide a good chance to hear from those who use the area. From there council could decide whether to go ahead with the plans, defeat the rezoning or make changes, he said.

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