The Ta’an Kwäch’än Council could add another nearly 50 homes to its settlement land if two proposals move forward as planned.
At Whitehorse city council’s Sept. 7 meeting, the First Nation’s two rezoning applications were brought forward. They would see a site in Porter Creek and a site in Whistle Bend rezoned from future development to residential zones.
The largest of the sites would be 2.1 hectares on Birch Street in Porter Creek to develop 25 single family lots, with a provision adding mobile homes to the list of primary buildings for the lots. The site is part of a larger 4.35-hectare piece of settlement land with the rest of the TKC land there to remain as future development.
To the immediate south of that property is a city water main that can’t be developed on. Further south on Birch Street are residential lots, while to the north is a highway commercial site. The Alaska Highway and Wann Road area sits to the east while land behind the property, in the west, is zoned for environmental protection.
The other rezoning would see a one-hectare site on Witch Hazel Drive designated as comprehensive residential townhouse to allow 24 townhouses to be built there. The site is within a 20-hectare piece of TKC settlement land.
As Mathieu Marois, the city’s acting manager of planning and sustainability services, stated in reports to council on each, the developments come out of a 2019 survey the First Nation conducted with its citizens, which identified affordable housing as a major issue.
In both cases, the First Nation would develop the homes and serve as the landlord with citizens leasing the properties.
As he noted on the Porter Creek plans: “The (single residential) zone allows TKC to provide a mixture of housing to their citizens in conjunction with another residential development on TKC settlement parcel C-9B (in Whistle Bend), also currently going through the rezoning process and intended for townhouses.
“Additionally, the proposed residential development seeks to provide affordable housing for TKC citizens in immediate need of housing and allowing mobile homes as a principal use provides a greater variety of housing options, allowing TKC to house its citizens in a cost-effective and timely manner.”
The report points out in both cases, the proposed zoning would be compatible with the zoning of other developments in the same area.
South of the proposed townhouse site on Witch Hazel Drive is land zoned as multi-residential while to the west is a site zoned for single residential homes. To the east and north are undeveloped treed areas that also belong to the First Nation and are currently zoned as future planning.
While council members did not speak directly to the proposed developments themselves, Coun. Ted Laking once again argued the continued growth of Whistle Bend points to a need for the city to do more planning for roads in the area. He described the current traffic situation coming out of Whistle Bend as a “growing frustration” for residents of the neighbourhood as well as Porter Creek, with commuters from both neighbourhoods using Mountainview Drive to get in and out of the downtown.
“I do think that we need to accelerate planning associated with the traffic infrastructure going into Whistle Bend because this looks to be the only area in the short- and medium-term that we’re looking at continued growth in the city,” Laking said, going on to ask for an update on the city’s transportation master plan.
City manager Jeff O’Farrell said work on the plan is continuing as scheduled with an update for council expected in October.
Council will vote on the first reading of the rezoning for each of the two TKC sites at its Sept. 12 meeting. If passed, separate public hearings on each rezoning would be held at council’s Oct. 11 meeting with reports on each coming forward Oct. 24 ahead of second and third readings on Nov. 7.
Contact Stephanie Waddell at firstname.lastname@example.org