Council was split Tuesday night when it came time to vote on the height allowance of a building near the Alaska Highway.
Yukon Yamaha wants to erect a tent that will exceed current height restrictions by 65 per cent and will stand six metres above the tree line.
The tent will be used to cover outdoor recreational equipment and vehicles.
Both mayor Bev Buckway and councillor Dave Stockdale opposed the zoning amendment. But they were overruled by the rest of council.
“We didn’t want big stores to move onto the highway and we have a small footing up there that big stores can’t develop on and if we allow people to go up in height then it’s possible to have a large store move up onto the highway — just make more floors on your store,” said Stockdale.
“It gets away from this situation where we want to keep all the big-box stores and the big businesses downtown, and if you allow this to happen it opens the door for that kind of development to take place.”
Throughout Canada cities are losing their downtowns to big-box stores that set up along highways and in subdivisions, said Stockdale.
He doesn’t want to see this happen in Whitehorse.
“And what happens if this tent doesn’t hold up and then they come back and want to put a big structure up there — a more solid structure — then we have a problem we don’t need to deal with,” he said.
“We’re trying to keep the downtown and develop the downtown and keep things off the highway.”
Buckway wouldn’t explain why she opposed the Yukon Yamaha rezoning.
“Majority rules,” she said.