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

Just Posted

Whether the dust jacket of this historical novel is the Canadian version (left) or the American (right), the readable content within is the same. (Michael Gates)
History Hunter: New novel a gripping account of the gold rush

Stampede: Gold Fever and Disaster in the Klondike is an ‘enjoyable and readable’ account of history

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Your furnace and your truck need to go

Perhaps the biggest commitment in the NDP deal with the Liberals was boosting the Yukon’s climate target

Awaken Festival organizers Meredith Pritchard, Colin Wolf, Martin Nishikawa inside the Old Firehall in Whitehorse on May 11. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Performing arts fest plans to awaken artistic talent in Whitehorse and the rural North

‘A value of ours is to make theatre as accessible as possible.’

April Mikkelsen tosses a disc during a ladies only disc golf tournament at Solstice DiscGolfPark on May 8. John Tonin/Yukon News
Yukon sees its first-ever women’s disc golf tournament

The Professional Disc Golf Assocation had a global women’s event last weekend. In the Yukon, a women’s only tournament was held for the first time ever.

Dave Blottner, executive director at the Whitehorse Food Bank, said the food bank upped its services because of the pandemic. (John Tonin/Yukon News)
Food Bank sees Yukoners’ generosity firsthand

“Businesses didn’t know if they could stay open but they were calling us to make sure we were able to stay open.”

A prescribed burn is seen from the lookout at Range Road and Whistle Bend Way in Whitehorse May 12. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Editorial: Are you ready for a forest fire?

Citizens for a Firesmart Whitehorse have listed some steps for Yukoners to boost safety and awareness

Caribou pass through the Dempster Highway area in their annual migration. A recent decision by the privacy commissioner has recommended the release of some caribou collar re-location data. (Justin Kennedy/Yukon News)
Privacy commissioner recommends release of caribou location data

Department of Environment says consultation with its partners needed before it will consider release

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Family pleased youth will be able to get Pfizer vaccine

Angela Drainville, mother of two, is anxious for a rollout plan to come forward

Safe at home office in Whitehorse on May 10, 2021. (John Tonin/Yukon News)
Federal government provides $1.6 million for Yukon anti-homelessness work

Projects including five mobile homes for small communities received funding.

Drilling at Northern Tiger’s 3Ace gold project in 2011. Randi Newton argues that mining in the territory can be reshaped. (Yukon government/file)
Editorial: There’s momentum for mining reform

CPAWS’ Randi Newton argues that the territory’s mining legislations need a substantial overhaul

At its May 10 meeting, Whitehorse city council approved the subdivision for the Kwanlin Dün First Nation’s business park planned in Marwell. (Submitted)
KDFN business park subdivision approved

Will mean more commercial industrial land available in Whitehorse

Main Street in Whitehorse on May 4. Whitehorse city council has passed the first two readings of a bylaw to allow pop-up patios in city parking spaces. Third reading will come forward later in May. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Whitehorse council pursuing restaurant patio possibilities

Council passes first two readings for new patio bylaw

Most Read