Hidden Lake Park a mess, says developer

The Holly Street area of Hidden Lake Park in Porter Creek is a dump, says would-be developer Daryl Novakowski.

The Holly Street area of Hidden Lake Park in Porter Creek is a dump, says would-be developer Daryl Novakowski.

At Monday’s council meeting, he showed proof.

“I have gone through the entire area and taken photographs,” he said, laying a few shots on the overhead projector.

“Well over 40 fire pits were counted within the last 30 days in this area — it’s used as a party area for teenagers.

“Within every fire pit you’ll find nothing but beer cans, syringes and condoms. It hasn’t been cleaned up in years.

“Obviously I didn’t snap all 40 of them,” he said.

Garbage has been dumped throughout this area, he said, adding he also ran across open manholes without covers.

“Obviously a child, adult or a dog — any animal — could fall in them,” he said.

Novakowski has submitted an application to the city to rezone 10.5 hectares, or 18 per cent, of Hidden Lake Park so he can build a subdivision with “in excess of” 40 lots.

The area, currently zoned greenbelt, is owned by the Yukon government, but is in the process of being transferred to the city.

Energy, Mines and Resource minister Archie Lang has given Novakowski a letter empowering him to make an application to the city to re-designate the land for residential development.

“Many builders and families have been waiting for several years for new residential lots in the Porter Creek area and I’m hoping to provide them with them,” Novakowski told council.

 “The approximate value of the infrastructure would be $3.5 million,” he said.

“I will be paving that road and giving that infrastructure as a gift to the city.”

He added he has received “well over” 250 signatures from people supporting the development.

Porter Creek residents Gayle and Judy Moffatt walk their dog through the Park’s Holly Street area on a daily basis.

The area is not nearly as bad as Novakowski makes it out to be, they say.

“The kids do tend to leave garbage in there, and it does sometimes get garbage that gets blown in there, but we pick up garbage two or three times a year and most of the time it’s reasonably clean,” said Judy Moffatt.

“There’s the odd fire pit that I know of where high school kids will light a fire and sit around and drink, or whatever,” she said.

“There’s only one that I know of for sure.”

The rest of the fire pits are from FireSmart, said Gayle Moffatt.

“FireSmart was out there two years in a row and cleaned up that area considerably so the city wouldn’t be faced with fires,” he told council.

 Judy says the manholes, which aren’t located in the Holly Street section of the park, are all covered.

“When Gayle saw them they were covered,” she said.

“I’ve never seen them uncovered. It’s possible that someone did take covers off at some point.”

The city is currently re-surveying the land and expects to receive it from the Yukon government once that work is complete.

If council does choose to consider Novakowski’s zoning amendment application, bylaw 2006-10 would come into effect, forcing a citywide referendum.

Council will make the decision at next week’s meeting.

The city’s planning department has recommended the application be denied.