When it comes to low-income housing, some Whitehorse politicians are part of the problem rather than the solution, said Barry Bellchambers.
Bellchambers’ application to expand Takhini Mobile Home Park was voted down for the second time this Monday.
“I’m very disappointed,” he said this morning.
“But it’s not about me — it’s the need for entry level housing for lower income and young people.”
“No other land is available and the city is not providing for it,” he continued.
“It’s a shame and a couple of councillors are part of the problem rather than the solution. They’ve been there for a long, long time and if they’d been proactive this never would have happened.”
Bellchambers was applying to expand into the site at the intersection of Range Road and Mountainview Drive.
The expansion would have created 45 new mobile-home lots.
The application last came before council on March 25 when it was voted down at second reading.
Two councillors were absent from that particular meeting and only one of them was able to participate by phone because there was no system in place to allow both.
The vote on the expansion was split three to three that evening, which, according to city procedure, defeats the resolution.
Councillor Dave Austin brought forward a resolution to reconsider the proposal on Monday night.
However, this too was voted down.
Mayor Bev Buckway and councillors Jeanine Myhre and Austin voted for bringing back the proposal.
The other four councillors, including Jan Stick, who originally cast her vote in favour of the mobile-home park expansion, defeated the motion.
Most of the councillors did not take issue with the application per se, but with how the territory disposed of the land.
Councillor Doug Graham would like to see some sort of public process used to give everyone equal opportunity to purchase land.
“That land was there and I went in and I applied for it,” said Bellchambers.
“Councillor Graham himself could have walked in there and applied for that land.”
The expansion would destroy the greenbelt, said Lorraine Hemstock, who spoke against the new mobile-home park at the beginning of the meeting.
“Should not the existing Takhini mobile home park be brought up to standards before issuing a licence to create yet another possible eyesore as time goes by?” she said.
“There’s absolutely nothing wrong with trailer parks giving people a choice to access affordable housing, but not at the expense of losing the greenbelt.”
More than 80 per cent of the trailers in most mobile home parks in the city, including Takhini, are in a state of disrepair, said Hemstock.
Councillors should drive through the trailer park to see for themselves, she added.
“That’s totally irrelevant to the application I had in there, but we’ve spent over a million and half dollars in buying and upgrading it,” said Bellchambers.
“We’ve also spent half a million in replacing totally the waterline and fencing infrastructure and it’s an ongoing project.”
Bellchambers will continue looking for options to expand his park.
“I’m never one to give up easily,” he said.
“So we’re going to look at our options to see if we can bring it back to the table, but right now the prospects are looking slim.”