City news, briefly

Some news from Whitehorse city council’s Jan. 13th meeting

Whistle Bend plans move forward

The ongoing development of the Whistle Bend neighbourhood was the focus of parts of Whitehorse city council’s Jan. 13 meeting as members voted to renew the subdivision for Phase 5 after a public hearing on the zoning for the commercial area of Phase 4.

The Phase 5 subdivision was originally approved in 2018 and automatically renewed as per the agreement in 2019.

With construction of Phase 5 still not done, the Yukon government sought another year-long extension for the subdivision, which this time had to come to council for approval.

Phase 5 is 20.9 hectares and would include 100 single-family lots, 64 townhouse lots, two multi-family lots, three large greenbelts, one institutional lot and one park lot.

There are no changes in the one-year renewal to how the area will be subdivided, but the name of one of the streets yet to be built was changed from Scout Street to Neecheah Street in light of request from the Ta’an Kwäch’än Council (TKC).

Meanwhile, there were no delegates on-hand to address council for the public hearing on the commercial area that will be Phase 4.

The zoning is aimed at establishing “a more urban design for Keno Way that is focused on pedestrian-friendly scale and uses that will create vitality along the street,” as city planning manager Mélodie Simard stated in an earlier staff report to council.

The proposed zoning would establish studios, hotels, and cultural and scientific exhibits as principal uses while recreation services and pet clinics would be deleted as principal uses typical for such zoning elsewhere in the city.

Residential units and offices in the commercial area of Keno Way would be required to be located above the ground floor.

Site coverage would rise from 70 per cent to 90 per cent for a greater development area on lots, though building height would decrease from a maximum of 15 metres to 12 m with a requirement that upper street or town-square-facing storeys in a building be set back 1.5 m.

The set back on upper levels would be in place to give the buildings a more textured look and provide more amenity space, Simard explained

Fewer parking spaces would be required compared to elsewhere in the city in order “to provide additional development space on the lots and (support) the sustainable and walkable design of Whistle Bend.”

The formula to determine the required number of parking spots would be altered to look at floor space rather than units, changing from one parking space for every two units to one parking spot per 150 square metres of gross floor area.

There are plans for stand-alone parking lots that could accommodate around 80 parking spots just north of Keno Way.

Properties bordering the town square would have additional restrictions that would limit the first storey to eating and drinking establishments, retail and personal service establishments. Building access and facades would be required to front onto both Keno Way and the town square. Outdoor seating would be required at bars and restaurants.

A report on the public hearing will come ahead of council voting on second and third reading of the zoning changes.

The next lottery for Whistle Bend lots will be Jan. 27 for the purchase of 55 single family residential lots in Phase 4.

Whitehorse to donate a rescue truck to the Yukon government

A retired Whitehorse Fire Department rescue truck will soon be in the hands of the Yukon government after Whitehorse city council members voted Jan. 13 to donate the 1996-era truck to the territory.

As Richard Graham, the city’s operations manager, told council earlier, the city replaced the truck with a new model in December and the territory asked for the older vehicle to have on standby as part of its fleet to be used when there are large-scale emergencies.

While the city typically goes through a tendering process to sell off retired vehicles, it has donated some in the past and this one will remain in the territory.

Whitehorse mayor and councillor set to travel

Whitehorse Mayor Dan Curtis and Coun. Dan Boyd could be on their way to Ottawa in the near future after council members approved travel for both as well as per diem expenses for Boyd.

Boyd is planning to attend the Canadian Capital Cities’ Organization winter meeting in Ottawa later in January while Curtis may attend the Arctic Inspiration Prize awards ceremony in February “to participate in the announcement that it will return to Whitehorse in 2021.”

City of Whitehorse lays out 2019 finances

As the City of Whitehorse closes the books on 2019, bylaws detailing exact figures from the year’s books are on their way to adoption.

City council passed the first two readings on bylaws showing the amount spent on grants, capital and operating expenses over the year.

The city handed out a total of $650,636 in grants and donations – both through cash and in-kind help – over the course of the year.

They included many types of grants ranging from recreation grants to environmental grants to funds doled out to non-profits who did community cleanup work and more.

Meanwhile on the budget side of things, the city’s capital spending plan increased substantially from the original $8.9 million that was set out when the capital budget was adopted.

“Council and administrative amendments of $51,336,270 were made including $34,190,520 in approved re-budgets, $13,179,800 in Appendix B projects (funded from external sources that were moved to Appendix A once a contribution agreement was signed), and $3,965,950 in other amendments. The revised total capital budget is now $60,246,605,” it was highlighted in an earlier staff report to council.

On the operating side, the city spent $40,871 more than it had planned, bringing the total operating budget up to $81.3 million.

All of the budget changes were approved individually throughout the year.

Third reading of the bylaws will come forward later this month.

Whitehorse city council

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