Hillcrest residents oppose developments, big and small

Hillcrest residents filled Whitehorse City Hall at a public hearing Monday night about proposed developments in their neighbourhood.

Hillcrest residents filled Whitehorse City Hall at a public hearing Monday night about proposed developments in their neighbourhood.

Residents voiced concerns about proposed changes to the Official Community Plan to allow for temporary soil cleanup and quarrying in the Upper Tank Farm area.

Golder Associates wants to clean up the contaminated site between Valleyview and Hillcrest so a new neighbourhood can be built.

The OCP allows for temporary cleanup activities. But because of how long the project will take, the owners want to see an OCP policy developed just for this area, that allows for ongoing activities.

Residents were concerned about noise and toxins being released into the air. They were also concerned about project costs and making sure it would be monitored throughout the process.

Both citizens and council wanted clarity about the role of the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board, and if its recommendations need to be received before changes are made to the OCP.

Gary Hamilton, project director for Golder Associates, attended the meeting. The assessment process is completely different from the process to get the OCP changed, he said. Hamilton also noted a crusher had operated on the site from 1999 to 2001.

City staff also assured residents that assessors’ recommendations would be included in any work done on the site.

Not everyone opposed the project. The Yukon Conservation Society supports it, said Christina Macdonald, the group’s wildlife coordinator. YCS would be happy to take citizens’ concerns to assessors, she said.

But Hillcrest residents were united in their opposition to the Dhillon family’s plans to have their property’s zoning changed so they can tear down their Steelox buildings and replace them with townhouses. The 10-metre tall, high-density, energy-efficient buildings would be partially powered by solar energy.

Several residents were concerned this would change the character of the neighbourhood and set an unwelcome precedent for future development.

The proposal is a “radical departure” from the rest of the buildings, said Jim Gilpin, who has lived in Hillcrest for over 25 years and has largely been impressed with changes he’s seen in that time.

Residents should have voiced their concerns when zoning bylaws were changed recently, said Linda Cameron. Now, they are starting to realize what the changes could mean to the community, she said.

Others raised concerns about whether existing water and sewer pipes can sustain more residents and how more cars will impact road safety.

The Dhillon family was not present at Monday’s meeting.

Contact Meagan Gillmore at

mgillmore@yukon-news.com

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