The first of three new apartment buildings under construction at 11 Tarahne Way in Whistle Bend is anticipated to be ready for its first tenants in December.
The plans for Boreal Commons were outlined during a July 22 press conference at the site with federal, territorial and City of Whitehorse officials on-hand along with developer Right On Property Group president Sammy Hachem.
“We realize it is only a small drop in the bucket to meet the significant housing needs and much work still needs to be done,” Hachem said. “We hope that collaboration between different levels of government can be facilitated in the future so that we can all work together to improve housing options in northern Canada.”
The project will see $22.2 million through the federal rental construction financing initiative, with the territory contributing $500,000 through Yukon Housing’s housing initiative fund and another $500,000 through the municipal matching rental construction grant.
The city is providing a development incentive, which aims to encourage the building of rental and supportive housing in the city.
Whitehorse city council approved the development incentive in March 2020. It will see up to $500,000 in development cost charges over 10 years.
It came forward following an earlier rezoning application in 2018 by a previous property owner. The rezoning was proposed to allow for about 40 townhouses rather than apartment-style buildings.
The council of the day turned down the proposed rezoning, with members highlighting concerns over fewer units that could be developed, a lack of parking and greenspace; and a desire for a variety of housing in Whistle Bend.
When the incentive agreement was approved for the project that has ultimately been developed, councillors Laura Cabott and Steve Roddick praised the plans that would add much needed rental housing to the market and provide for denser development.
The sentiment was much the same at the press conference with officials highlighting the need for more rental housing in Whitehorse and noting the project will bring affordable, accessible housing in energy efficient buildings. Affordability, accessibility and energy efficiency were all requirements to receive the federal funds.
As Ahmed Hussen, the federal minister of families, children and social development and minister responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, said: “It’s really about ensuring a better quality of life for Canadians.”
Each building will feature four bachelor units, four one-bedroom units and 21 two-bedroom units.
A total of 18 units in the development will have below market rates for at least 25 years and five of the bachelor suites will be reserved for tenants between 18 and 25 years old. Five units will be prioritized for newcomers to Canada, and 18 will be designed for accessibility.
While the first building is anticipated to be ready in December, the other two will likely welcome new tenants in August 2022.
Contact Stephanie Waddell at firstname.lastname@example.org