Whitehorse City Hall (Yukon News file)

Whitehorse City Hall (Yukon News file)

City news, briefly

A look at issues discussed by Whitehorse city council at its Nov. 21 meeting and upcoming opportunities for public input in the city.

Rezoning proposed for Drift Drive property

A Drift Drive property owner is asking the city to rezone their property in order to bring the living suite in the home into compliance.

The proposed rezoning for 19 Drift Drive came forward to Whitehorse city council at its Nov. 21 meeting.

The owners are asking the city to change the zoning from Restricted Residential Detached (RR) to Residential Single Detached (RS).

“The owner would like to rezone in order to address an existing non-complying use,” planning and sustainability manager Mélodie Simard stated in a report to council, going on to note a number of RR-zoned properties have been rezoned in recent years to RS to allow suites.

The property is in an area that includes a number of both RR and RS properties and close by three properties that have been rezoned from RR to RS in recent years.

“Rezoning the subject property to RS to allow a living suite would therefore not contrast with the surrounding area,” she said.

The plans also aligns with both the current Official Community Plan and the proposed next OCP – both of which designate the area as residential – urban and aim to promote an increase of housing stock in existing neighbourhoods.

Simard also highlighted council’s strategic priorities, one of which is to improve the housing supply and options in Whitehorse.

She pointed out the RR zone, which provides single-detached housing on larger lots with limited uses, was created before more dense, compact housing was being promoted.

Council will vote on first reading of the rezoning at its Nov. 28 meeting. If that is approved a public hearing will be held Jan. 16, 2023. A report on the hearing would come to council Feb. 6 ahead of second and third reading on Feb. 13.

Addressing council

Whitehorse city council members are preparing to hear from residents on a long list of issues at its Nov. 28 meeting with public hearings on the next Official Community Plan (OCP), two more phases of Whistle Bend and a public input session on the city’s proposed 2023 capital budget and provisional spending plan to 2026.

The hearing on the OCP – which acts as a guide to planning in the city – marks the second public hearing on the matter after substantial changes were made following the first public hearing on the document that would set the vision for Whitehorse to 2040.

Among the changes made was the removal of a provision to study a potential road through the McIntyre Creek area, changes to building height limits, a study of short-term rental accommodations, the removal of potential development in an area near Tamarack Drive, and more planning to address increased traffic between the Porter Creek/Whistle Bend area and downtown via Mountain View Drive, Copper Road and Quartz Road.

Meanwhile, Phase 12 in Whistle Bend would encompass 2.2 hectares off Casca Boulevard to the east near Keno Way with Phase 13 encompassing 14 hectares nearby, west of Casca Boulevard and east of the Whistle Bend Place continuing care facility.

Phase 12 would see a mix of residential units, public utilities and a greenbelt with residential and commercial lots, along with two public service lots and a greenbelt planned for Phase 13.

It’s expected the areas will accommodate approximately 350 units or 850 people.

Finally, the 2023 capital budget outlines a spending plan worth at least $15.6 million from city funds along with a further $42.5 million should external funds be approved.

Along with outlining planned capital spending for 2023, the document also sets out provisional budgets for each year between 2024 and 2026.

For each of those years, the city would spend $17.6 million in 2024, $11.5 million in 2025 and $10.3 million in 2026 from its own reserves. Further proposed spending from external sources, if approved, would see another $36.9 million for 2024, $24.1 million for 2025 and $26.5 million for 2026.

A big focus on the capital spending plan is on maintaining and replacing city infrastructure and improving city services. Initiatives include plans to expand the city’s operations building, upgrades to the aquatic centre at the Canada Games Centre, the Mount McIntyre Recreation Centre and Takhini Arena; equipment purchases for snow clearing; road and active transportation route improvements and more.

Those wanting to address council on any of the three topics can do so at the Nov. 28 meeting at 5:30 p.m. at Whitehorse City Hall. Residents can also email legsvcs@whitehorse.ca for information on other ways to provide feedback.

Surveys underway

The City of Whitehorse is looking for opinions from residents about two different parts of town.

The city has launched surveys about it’s Valleyview South masterplan and the active transportation plan for École Selkirk Elementary School.

The Valleyview South masterplan deals with the area between the Valleyview and Hillcrest neighbourhoods that has been identified for residential use. The master plan aims to provide direction on the development of the neighbourhood.

A survey, available at https://www.engagewhitehorse.ca/valleyview-south, is underway and will close on Dec. 12.

Following the survey, work will be done to come up with concepts for the area, followed by work to find a preferred option which will then go for approval at council.

Meanwhile, the active transportation study aims to ensure options are available to use active transportation to get to and from the school.

The survey is available until Nov. 28 at https://www.engagewhitehorse.ca/selkirk-elementary-school-active-transportation-plan

There are also two sessions focused on the plan happening at the school.

The first, on Nov. 29 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. will explore issues and opportunities there, while the Dec. 1 session from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. will have ideas and draft recommendations.

A final report with recommendations will be developed.

“Recommendations will be made for improvements to the streetscape, regional trails, and built environment to improve the walk/wheel-ability within the school boundaries,” the city states on the project page at engagewhitehorse.ca

Getting into the festive spirit

The City of Whitehorse is inviting residents to share their holiday spirit and put up festive lights and yard displays before Dec. 5.

Neighbourhoods with colourfully decorated homes may be selected for one of the city’s self-guided light tours, or residents can submit their homes to be included as part the tour maps.

The city recommends using LED lights and timers to cut down on energy use.

Whitehorse city council