Downtown plan crawls ahead

City planners have big plans for the south-end of downtown Whitehorse. The aptly named Downtown South Master Plan is the result of exhaustive study and consultations with developers, architects, engineers, designers and the public.

City planners have big plans for the south-end of downtown Whitehorse.

The aptly named Downtown South Master Plan is the result of exhaustive study and consultations with developers, architects, engineers, designers and the public.

A draft of the plan, presented to council on Monday, would transform the vacant area into a high-density residential neighbourhood over the next two decades.

A paved trail would be built along the bottom of the escarpment.

Starting at Lambert Street, it would run past new parks, art installations and a staircase that would lead to the top of the escarpment.

The trail would empty out at Robert Service Way near the Millennium Trail.

It would create a looped trail that would encircle the entire south end of downtown.

Along Sixth Avenue there are plans to build mixed residential/commercial spaces and extending and improving streets like Rogers to Hoge.

Attempts would be made to slow traffic along Robert Service Way with landscaped medians from Sixth Avenue to Rotary Park.

The entire stretch of road would be rebilled as the Gateway Promenade.

The idea is to create a pedestrian-friendly waterfront with zoning that would see buildings constructed with ground floor commercial space topped with residential units.

There are other zoning changes detailed in the plan.

Much of it, like relaxing height and parking restrictions, is aimed at increasing density.

It’s an ambitious plan that will take at least two decades to complete.

And it won’t be cheap.

Council is considering levying a connection fee on new developments in the area for water and sewer hookups.

And priority is being placed on making land available for private sale.

The money could be used to fund needed improvements to public spaces and amenities in the neighbourhood.

If the plan is approved by council, geotechnical studies of the area, bylaw changes and preparations for land sales could start as soon as this year.

The south end of downtown has long been neglected. Historically, it was a residential neighbourhood.

It’s where the US Army barracks were built during the Second World War.

There were houses and businesses in the area, and it was a key rail link for the city.

The tracks can still be seen along Robert Service Way.

During the 1950s, deforestation and water runoff from the development of the airport damaged the escarpment.

The area was deemed unsafe.

In the 1970s development was moved away from the area.

However, recent geotechnical studies of the land around the escarpment show it’s now safe.

Contact Josh Kerr at

joshk@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A Copper Ridge resident clears their driveway after a massive over night snowfall in Whitehorse on Nov. 2, 2020. Environment Canada has issued a winter storm warning for the Whitehorse and Haines Junction areas for Jan. 18. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Winter storm warning for Haines Junction and Whitehorse

Environment Canada says the storm will develop Monday and last until Tuesday

Maria Metzen off the start line of the Yukon Dog Mushers Association’s sled dog race on Jan. 9. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Mushers race in preparation for FirstMate Babe Southwick

The annual race is set for Feb. 12 and 13.

The Yukon government is making changes to the medical travel system, including doubling the per diem and making destinations for medical services more flexible. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Subsidy for medical travel doubled with more supports coming

The change was recommended in the Putting People First report endorsed by the government

Chloe Sergerie, who was fined $500 under the <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> on Jan. 12, says she made the safest choice available to her when she entered the territory. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)
Woman fined $500 under CEMA says she made ‘safest decision’ available

Filling out a declaration at the airport was contrary to self-isolation, says accused

Yukon University has added seven members to its board of governors in recent months. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
New members named to Yukon U’s board of governors

Required number of board members now up to 17

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Your Northern regulatory adventure awaits!

“Your Northern adventure awaits!” blared the headline on a recent YESAB assessment… Continue reading

Yukoner Shirley Chua-Tan is taking on the role of vice-chair of the social inclusion working group with the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences’ oversight panel and working groups for the autism assessment. (Submitted)
Canadian Academy of Health Sciences names Yukoner to panel

Shirley Chua-Tan is well-known for a number of roles she plays in… Continue reading

The Fish Lake area viewed from the top of Haeckel Hill on Sept. 11, 2018. The Yukon government and Kwanlin Dün First Nation (KDFN) announced they are in the beginning stages of a local area planning process for the area. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Local area planning for Fish Lake announced

The Government of Yukon and Kwanlin Dün First Nation (KDFN) announced in… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Fire damage, photographed on Jan. 11, to a downtown apartment building which occurred late in the evening on Jan. 8. Zander Firth, 20, from Inuvik, was charged with the arson and is facing several other charges following his Jan. 12 court appearance. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
More charges for arson suspect

The Inuvik man charged in relation to the fire at Ryder Apartments… Continue reading

The grace period for the new Yukon lobbyist registry has come to an end and those who seek to influence politicians will now need to report their efforts to a public database. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)
Grace period for new lobbyist registry ends

So far nine lobbyists have registered their activities with politicians in the territory

Most Read