Condo quandary in Porter Creek

Allowing a 25-unit condominium development would turn once peaceful Dogwood Street into a busy thoroughfare, say residents.

Allowing a 25-unit condominium development would turn once peaceful Dogwood Street into a busy thoroughfare, say residents.

“If there’s 25 units, potentially three people per unit, there’s 75 people, right there, bang!” Porter Creek resident Steve Smith told city council last Monday.

“And that’s a problem.”

Council is considering an application to rezone three lots on the corner of Dogwood Street and Wann Road from country residential to multiple housing.

A public hearing was held last Monday night to allow residents to sound off on the proposal.

“Put in some houses — put in some nice houses,” said Smith.

“But we don’t have to put in a whole schwack of them right now.”

“We are in a shortage of housing, there are many people crying for houses right now,” said Roseanna Goodman, an owner of one of the three country residential lots applying to be rezoned.

“Right now, in the Yukon, we are seeing major economic development happening.

“It is my opinion that people that own this land have a right to develop it and I believe, whether it’s done now or down the road, it will be done.”

The condominium would not adversely affect the community, said Goodman, who lives in the area with her family.

“This is not a proposal to build two- to three-storey units where it will be blocking any view and infringing on anybody’s yard,” she said.

“It’s meant for elderly or older people that have steady incomes and jobs and can afford to live there.”

“You say that you don’t intend to increase traffic or any of this but once you sell the property you’re not going to have any control over that,” said councillor Doug Graham.

“And I think that’s what these people are worried about.”

Notifications were sent out to 521 homes within a one-kilometre radius of the property.

The Porter Creek residents responded with 14 written letters in opposition to the condominium, one of which included 46 signatures.

Only one letter was received in favour of the development.

Residents told council that the roads are not able to meet the current needs of the neighbourhood.

There is also land proposed for use as a park nearby, which would also increase traffic.

“Personally, I think this is totally out of character for that area,” one resident told council.

“I enjoy that our kids can ride up and down the street without having too much traffic.

“That’s the reason we bought the property — it’s in a nice quiet neighbourhood on a nice quiet street and I don’t have to worry about cars rushing around.” (CO)

Hospital strike averted

Contract negotiations at Whitehorse General Hospital were revived early enough to avoid a strike.

A new deal signed Friday gives nurses and pharmaceutical, therapy, social work and dietary employees a nine per cent wage increase over three years.

The deal between the hospital and Professional Institute for Public Service Canada is retroactive to February 1, and runs to January 31, 2011.

The two sides signed the agreement Friday, with the union ratifying the deal late that afternoon.

Thursday was the deadline for the conciliatory process.

The union hoped for a five per cent annual increase in wages, incentives for moving north and pension guarantees.

The hospital also wanted to cut wages paid for covering extra shifts.

The only issue addressed was the wage increase, according to a Whitehorse General Hospital news release.

Employees will receive a two per cent market adjustment in the third year in addition to the annual increases.

The deal also includes improved consultation methods between the union and the employer.

“The market adjustment will keep us competitive, and we have provided additional funding for our employees to maintain their professional designations,” said hospital CEO Joe MacGillivray.

Hospital chair Craig Tuton and MacGillivray were unavailable for comment.

The union did not return calls for an interview.

Collective bargaining began January 1 this year but the two sides failed to agree on wage issues and talks broke off in April.

After the split, both sides requested a conciliator to keep negotiations moving.

Keeping wages competitive has become critical as provinces and territories compete for nurses.

Alberta is short 1,400 nurses.

Nurses in Whitehorse receive the highest hourly wage in Canada, but those in Alberta and Saskatchewan will see large increases that will test the competitiveness of the Yukon. (JW)