This map shows the area in Copper Ridge the Kwanlin Dün First Nation plan to develop for residential lots. (City of Whitehorse/Screen shot)

This map shows the area in Copper Ridge the Kwanlin Dün First Nation plan to develop for residential lots. (City of Whitehorse/Screen shot)

KDFN development could bring close to 100 lots online

Residential development considered for Copper Ridge

A proposal by the Kwanlin Dün First Nation (KDFN) could make close to 100 new residential lots available in Copper Ridge.

The First Nation is asking the City of Whitehorse to rezone its settlement land in the neighbourhood from future development to comprehensive single family 2 (RCS2) for the first two phases of the development plans.

The site to be developed sits behind Falcon Drive near Aquamarine Place to just before the North Star Drive area. Plans are in place to maintain access to trails and walkways nearby.

City planner Mathieu Marois brought forward a report on the proposed rezoning at Whitehorse city council’s June 20 meeting, recommending the bylaw to rezone the more than 12 hectares move forward. Council will vote on first reading June 27 and, if approved, a public hearing would then be held ahead of second and third reading.

Marois said a total of 25 lots for single detached or duplex homes is expected in the first phase of development with another 72 expected in phase 2. The lots would be made available to home owners through long-term leases on the land.

His report also highlighted a guiding policy under the KDFN self-government agreement and community lands plan for new neighbourhoods on KDFN lands to incorporate high standards for design and planning.

“The proposed rezoning to RCS2 reflects a desire to follow this guiding policy as the RCS2 zone is subject to additional requirements regarding building facades, porches and access,” he said.

A joint declaration of commitment signed by the city, KDFN and the Ta’an Kwäch’än Council affirmed the commitment of the three governments to work together on outstanding issues, Marois said, adding this rezoning provides an opportunity to demonstrate the commitment.

It was also noted in the report the city’s Official Community Plan has the site designated for residential use, while the zoning bylaw holds it as future development, a zone aimed at protecting land until planning can be done for more appropriate zoning.

“As noted, it was determined that the most appropriate zoning for the subject site is RCS2,” Marois said. “The RCS2 zone was selected based on the preferred size of the lots and because the comprehensive zones require greater design standards.”

The zone also allows for living suites and garden suites. A development agreement with the city will be required to allow road construction and installation of water, sewer, storm, and utilities. Lot clearing, grading, driveways, power connection, and the building construction will be the responsibility of private developers.

A third phase of development could follow and yield more housing, with the First Nation planning to pursue rezoning for that section of land at a later date.

Questioned by Coun. Kirk Cameron about why rezoning for the third phase isn’t being considered now, Marois explained the First Nation will be doing more work to consider the appropriate zoning for Phase 3.

An evaluation by the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board (YESAB) on the first two phases concluded the proposed plans would not have significant adverse effects on residents in Copper Ridge or public health.

“There were concerns that the proposed development will increase traffic congestion on Falcon Drive and Hamilton Boulevard, however, YESAB noted that the impacts of this project are not expected to be significant,” Marois said. “In addition, road infrastructure improvements required for this development have already been implemented as this area was planned to be as part of the Copper Ridge neighbourhood since 1990.”

Cameron also voiced concerns about increased traffic and the impact it could have on Robert Service Way.

A decision document by YESAB in March states the project could move forward, subject to a heritage assessment, which has since been done.

“The (heritage assessment) was completed and any heritage resources found on the subject site will be addressed in the subdivision approval process through a development agreement,” Marois said.

If council approves first reading of the rezoning, the public hearing would be held July 25. A report would then come forward to council Aug. 1, with second and third readings scheduled for Aug. 8.

Contact Stephanie Waddell at