(Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)

City of Whitehorse proposes quarry expansion

McLean Lake quarry running out of aggregate

The City of Whitehorse wants to renew the lease and expand a quarry site in the McLean Lake area.

The quarry has been operating under five-year renewal leases with the Yukon government since 1992.

The most recent lease expired in November 2017. As part of the lease renewal, the city wants to expand the quarry site.

“It has been determined that the existing lease area contains limited reserves of aggregate causing the city to request a larger lease area,” said a report presented to council on March 19. “A larger lease area will allow continued aggregate extraction while maintaining the City’s existing work patterns and stockpile locations.”

The newly proposed lease agreement would increase the annual rent from $100 to $150, and expire in November 2022, with a five-year renewal clause.

It would also include an additional parcel of adjacent land.

The Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board reviewed the city’s quarry plan and said, in July 2017, the plan should be able to proceed.

Current zoning for the proposed expansion land is FP, or future planning, and PG, which is greenbelt.

The proposed amendment for it is IQ, for quarries.

Mélodie Simard, manager of planning and sustainability with the City of Whitehorse, told council at a standing committees meeting on March 19 that the city’s proposal meets all regulations laid out in the zoning bylaw.

She also noted there is one trail, along the perimeter of the area, that shouldn’t be impacted by the quarry.

“The enlargement area to the quarry lease contains a portion of the Trans-Canada Trail which the city’s operations department will relocate in cooperation with the city’s parks and community development department when quarry operations necessitate the relocation work,” read the report.

Coun. Samson Hartland asked about the reason for the current greenbelt zoning in the proposed expansion parcel.

“I find us, as a city, always looking to consider changing environmental protection or protected greenbelt into a different type of zoning to match whatever our needs are of the day be it housing, given the housing challenges that we’re faced with where now it’s quarrying given obviously the need for getting to aggregate being one of our latest challenges,” said Hartland.

“But I do find that pretty problematic especially if there was a rationale for implementing it back in 2006 in the first place, to then consider undoing that later.”

Hartland wanted to know if aggregate could be found elsewhere on the site.

The issue of the lease and the expansion will come back in front of council March 26.

Contact Amy Kenny at amy.kenny@yukon-news.com

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