Whitehorse City Hall (Yukon News file)

Whitehorse City Hall (Yukon News file)

City news, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council at its Nov. 28 meeting.

Former Macaulay Lodge site will be focus of public hearing

Whitehorse residents will get a chance to let the City of Whitehorse know their thoughts on the Yukon government’s plans for the former Macaulay Lodge site at a Jan. 16, 2023 public hearing.

The former extended care home was demolished earlier this year with the territory now moving forward with plans to redevelop the lot at 2 Klondike Rd. in Riverdale. It’s looking to have it rezoned for a mixed commercial use. The ground floor would feature commercial operations with housing above.

First reading of the rezoning bylaw was passed by Whitehorse city council at its Nov. 28 meeting, triggering the public hearing for January before the final two readings come forward.

The territory is also asking to align a small section of greenbelt space with the property to consolidate the lots. The section was zoned as greenbelt, but had been part of the land the Macaulay Lodge extended care facility was used for. It’s believed there was a mapping error that led to that section being labelled as green space.

While council voted in favour of moving ahead with first reading, Coun. Ted Laking reiterated concerns expressed earlier over the impact increased traffic could have in the area.

He pointed out there’s a number of schools and daycares nearby as well as the Heart of Riverdale Community Centre and the Super A grocery store. It’s important the Yukon government considers that as it makes plans for the site and a potential increase in traffic. Overall, Laking said, he’s pleased to see development plans in the works.

“I’m really looking forward to see what happens at this lot,” he said.

Coun. Kirk Cameron also voiced his support to see housing added in the area, noting that while there are traffic concerns to deal with, this will add densification to Riverdale.

After the Jan. 16 public hearing, a report will come forward to council on Feb. 6, with the final two readings of the bylaw expected to be voted on Feb. 13.

Drift Drive rezoning passes first reading

Whitehorse city council has approved first reading on the rezoning of a Drift Drive property to allow a living suite inside the home.

At Whitehorse city council’s Nov. 28 meeting, members were unanimous in passing first reading to change the zoning for 19 Drift Dr. from Restricted Residential Detached (RR) to Residential Single Detached (RS).

The owner is seeking the change to bring the existing suite in the home into compliance with the zoning bylaw. In an earlier report to council, planning and sustainability manager Mélodie Simard noted the home is already in an area of RR and RS homes and the plans would align with the current and proposed Official Community Plan, which designates the area as residential-urban and aims to promote an increase of housing in existing neighbourhoods throughout the city.

First reading of the bylaw sets the stage for a public hearing, with that scheduled for council’s Jan. 16, 2023 meeting. A report on the hearing will follow on Feb. 6, ahead of second and third reading on Feb. 13.

Go-ahead granted for garden suite

A Sybil Circle property owner has been given the go-ahead to add a garden suite to his property.

At Whitehorse city council’s Nov. 28 meeting, council approved the final two readings of a rezoning bylaw, accompanied with conditions.

The conditions come from concerns raised over potential impacts to the privacy of neighbours. It requires that any of the garden suite’s entryways, doorways and windows not face the side yard property line in order to maintain the privacy of neighbours.

The vote came after an initial delay when council added an extra couple of weeks to the rezoning process to look at the issue of potential shadowing should the structure be built to a height of seven metres as the property owner had proposed. The analysis determined the difference between a six-metre and seven-metre building to be negligible.

While Coun. Dan Boyd voiced his preference and proposed that the height be kept to six metres as administration had put forward, others stated their support for the seven-metre height limit, approving an amendment to allow the seven metres. Boyd was the only member to vote against it.

Council then approved the final two readings of the bylaw with the height limit set at seven metres.

Shipyards Park to become Santa Land

Santa Claus will be making an appearance at Shipyards Park… or Santa Land as it will be known on Dec. 10.

The City of Whitehorse is getting set to host Santa Land at the park from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 10, provided temperatures are not -25 C or colder on that day. If the temperature is -25 C or colder according to weather.gc.ca it will be cancelled.

Along with the usual sliding and skating activities that draw residents to the park throughout the winter, Santa will be on-hand to greet residents and pose for photos with those who bring a camera with them. It marks one of many popular events to host Santa in the coming weeks. On Dec. 3, Santa will be on-hand for the annual parade in downtown Whitehorse.

Santa Land will also feature games, visits with sled dog puppies, and hot apple cider or hot chocolate to drink.

Those planning to visit Santa Land are asked to keep their pets at home, dress warm and in layers, and bring their own skates and/or sleds.

As it is expected to be a popular event, carpooling, transit or using active transportation are also recommended.