Whitehorse city council voted May 23 to grant the Yukon Cross Country Motorcycle Association a 10-year lease on a parcel of land at 100 Robert Service Way.
The site has been used in previous years by the club without a lease, as a kind of unofficial track.
The lease agreement differs slightly from the original lease, proposed on May 8, which gave the association the right to use eight hectares. The city reduced that to 6.9 hectares, in order to avoid potential conflicts with pedestrians, city staff said.
The conditional use agreement for the site will allow it to be used only between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m.
“I just think the YCCMA has been very patient and they are looking for legitimacy,” Mayor Dan Curtis said.
Coun. Jocelyn Curteanu said that while she felt that the lease would indeed “legitimize” the YCCMA’s activities at the site, the club should still look for a different space, in the event that the site is ever needed for other purposes.
“It’s nice to be able to extend something like this to group in our city,” she said. “I hope this group continues to look for a site.”
During public hearings, some residents objected to the noise and potential impact on nearby neighbourhoods and the Robert Service campground.
Coun. Betty Irwin, who had previously been vocal about her opposition to the track, said her previous concerns had been eased.
“I am quite convinced that this is a reputable organization,” she said, adding with a smile, “I think I have the right to change my mind about this.”
The lease originally has a one-year cancellation policy attached to it. But council tacked on an additional three-month cancellation policy, which gives the city the right to revoke the lease “in the event of ATV bylaw violations.”
“This clause is unusual and would not be employed without repeated infractions,” said city engineer Wayne Tuck.
Currently, the city ATV bylaw says that no one under the age of 16 can ride an ATV — which includes dirt bikes — within city limits. The YCCMA has said previously that it hopes this can change so that younger riders can use the track under the supervision of adults.
“I believe and I hope this will lead to education opportunities for young riders,” Coun. Rob Fendrick said.
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