A city plan to sweep aside an expensive outdoor rink in favour of cheaper housing in Takhini North subdivision has broomballers crying foul.
The Yukon Broomball Association has leased the city-owned land that hosts its $600,000 Normandy Road rink for nearly 10 years.
Asking it to leave now because charrette participants, who’ve lived in Takhini less than a decade, don’t like the facility isn’t fair, said Scott Smith, a longtime league executive member.
What’s worse is city officials didn’t contact the association for meetings mapping out the area’s future, even though they told Takhini North charrette participants otherwise, said Smith.
“I think the process is flawed because, during the charrette, they said they were in talks with us when really they weren’t,” said Smith.
“We met with the city after the map was out in the beginning of November.
“They planned like we weren’t even there.”
The city held charrette sessions for Takhini North in the spring and in the fall.
The plan called for 195 housing units to be built in three phases in areas that border the current neighbourhood, including the broomball rink.
The city has signaled it may want more than 195 units to recover all its development costs, which includes fixing the area’s aging water and sewer systems.
Residents have said they would like to see a solution to their plumbing problems and a development plan that resembles what they helped to come up with.
Most charrette participants indicated they would like to see the broomball rink go.
The rink has a lease until 2009.
After the charrette development concepts were presented, the city gave the club three options, said Smith.
One, leave their rink where it is.
Two, pack up and move it.
Three, abandon the rink and use city facilities, like the Canada Games Centre.
The club likes its current location because it makes running the league, which has about seven 15-to-20-player teams, less expensive to run.
Moving it would cost a fortune and using the city’s facilities would lose the league its prime ice times. Instead, the club would see midnight slots, said Smith.
The first option is the best, he said.
And, after getting $600,000 in funding and in-kind contributions — from the Community Development Fund, Lotteries Yukon and carpenters’ union officials —there are many others who might support the first option as well, said Smith.
“There’s a lot of different contributors to this project who I’m sure would feel discontented to see this happen to their contribution,” he said.
“You need to get 100-per-cent recovery from these lots, so you’re going to crush a recreation league?
“I’d like to see them support our program. We’ve been asking for water and sewer for years, it would help our facility to grow.”
Charrette participants clearly didn’t want broomballers to remain and the rink is a substantial impediment to development, said city planning manager Mike Gau.
“The reason it would make sense to move it is it’s not only the footprint that takes up land, it’s the buffer that’s required with that facility,” said Gau.
“It takes up a lot of area that’s prime location for development.
“We don’t have a lot of area to put housing.”
Members of the broomball association were free to participate in the charrette with all of the other stakeholders, but elected to leave the planning sessions, said Gau.
“They did attend part of the meeting and decided to leave when consensus was that the building would have to move.”
A decision on the rink and the development has not been made.
The final decision is up to city council, said Gau.
City council will be considering the plan as it’s presented to them, said Mayor Bev Buckway.
“The plan comes forward the way it’s been developed with the input of the community.
“I didn’t know there was an issue with this.”
It’s difficult to include input from people or groups who don’t provide input, she said.