The proposed 7.3-hectare section of land at the former tank farm site to be designated Industrial/Commercial. A second public hearing may be held for city residents to let the city know their thoughts on the proposed Official Community Plan amendment. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)

Council contemplates a second public hearing on OCP change

A section of the tank farm would be changed for industrial/commercial use

City residents could have another chance to let the city know their thoughts on a proposed Official Community Plan amendment for a 7.3-hectare section of land at the former tank farm site near Wasson Place to be designated for industrial/commercial use.

Another public hearing was part of a lengthy recommendation on the tank farm city staff presented to council at its July 6 meeting as a follow up report to the first public hearing.

“Council may choose to hold a second public hearing to ensure that citizens can review this information and provide their input,” city planner Kinden Kosick stated in a report to council. “Any new public hearing would be subject to the requirements of the Municipal Act, including advertising and mail-outs, as well as notification to the minister.”

The proposed changes would also see council have more direct control over the tank farm area if it follows through in establishing the site as a direct control district under the Municipal Act.

Section 291 of the Municipal Act states the direct control district may be established if the city “wants to directly control the use and development of land or buildings in the area individually rather than establish rules common to all buildings and land in the area.”

Developers of the tank farm applied to change the OCP designation of the 7.3-ha section Residential – Urban to Mixed-Use – Industrial/Commercial as it is not suitable for residential development given the deep depressions in the ground there.

Council sent the matter back to administration in June after the proponent was issued a violation order for hauling material from the site without authorization in order that it be dealt with ahead of any OCP change.

As Kosick highlighted in his report to council, the proponent has told the city that as part of remediation work, material that was stockpiled could be moved.

Director of development services Mike Gau later clarified that while in some cases remediation stockpiles can be moved, permits are required and in this case the permits that were in place expired. There has been no moving of material since the violation order was issued.

“According to the proponent, the hauling was to reduce existing stockpiles of material remaining from the remediation process,” Kosick stated in his report to council. “Prior to the material being removed from the site, it was processed and thoroughly tested through screening, crushing, and sorting to remediate and repurpose contaminated material into a useable product.”

The material has been processed into useable product for other projects and any future hauling would require a development permit from the city.

“The overall goal of remediation is to enable future development,” Kosick continued. “The proponent’s stated intention is to work with the city to develop the tank farm to its full potential. A developed neighbourhood in this location would have multiple benefits (more housing, more residents within existing infrastructure footprint, new amenities, potential for better transportation connections).”

Kosick stated from a planning perspective the proposed OCP change is viewed as “sound and is the best land use designation for the subject area.”

He noted as well there are some steps that could be put in place in the future zoning or development agreement to address concerns that were brought forward by residents during the first public hearing.

Among those would be regulations on how much material could be relocated; restricting off-site hauling, limiting on-site processing of material, regulating the hours of operation, and restricting the uses allowed in the area to those currently permitted in the Wasson Place/Burns Road area.

Kosick said with the remediation work now substantially finished, sections related to tank farm remediation work in the OCP could be deleted.

It was suggested as well that council move forward with establishing the tank farm as a direct control district.

During a lengthy discussion following the report, Coun. Laura Cabott said there needs to be more clarity on what is happening with material on the site.

“This is a real concern,” she said, noting a number of residents in the area have brought it forward.

Councillors Dan Boyd and Samson Hartland, meanwhile, cited the need for industrial land in the city and Coun. Steve Roddick wondered about the potential long-term implications of the change.

Council will vote on the recommendations, including whether there will be a second public hearing, for the site at its July 13 meeting.

Contact Stephanie Waddell at stephanie.waddell@yukon-news.com

Whitehorse city council

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