Highway slotted for rezoning for energy battery storage project


A large piece of Kwanlin Dün First Nation (KDFN) land off Robert Service Way is moving closer to being rezoned.

At Whitehorse city council’s Feb. 7 meeting, city planner Karmen Whitbread brought forward a recommendation that council move forward to second and third reading of the rezoning for the site at Robert Service Way and the Alaska Highway.

A 1.66 ha part of the site would be rezoned to Public Utilities and leased to the Yukon Energy Corporation (YEC) for an energy battery storage project, while the remaining 9.13 ha would be rezoned to Mixed Use Commercial/Industrial for future sites.

A public hearing on the proposal was held Jan. 17 with one written submission coming in that opposed the plans, citing geo-hazard concerns around the battery being close to nearby power sources, in an earthquake zone and unstable land and nearby water. Concerns about its proximity to runway flight paths were also highlighted.

In response, Whitbread’s report noted that the issues were considered during a review of the project by the Yukon Environmental Socio-econommic Assessment Board.

It was noted the site is relatively flat and that all of Whitehorse is in the same moderate risk earthquake zone hazard level.

“It is therefore considered that locating the batteries on the subject site will not initiate or exacerbate any geo-hazard risks over and above any other location in Whitehorse,” the report states. “In the event of a hazard occurring, the batteries are planned to be stored in metal containers and will be equipped with an automated system for detection and on-site suppression of fire. YEC will also coordinate with the Whitehorse Fire Services department to prepare a fire response plan. The facility is expected to create low noise nuisance and have very low risk of fire or explosion, as stated in the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board’s Designated Office Evaluation Report (2021- 0076).”

The report also notes that the project will have to meet any building height regulations outlined by Transport Canada for sites within close proximity to the airport.

“The Transport Canada’s airport regulations (C.R.C., c. 122) limit the maximum building height on the subject site to approximately 20 m, which aligns with the proposed FN-PU First Nation-Public Uiltity maximum height restriction,” Whitbread said.

Council will vote whether to move forward to second and third reading of the rezoning on Feb. 14.

(Stephanie Waddell)

Whitehorse city council