Changes could be coming to the park map in Whitehorse’s Official Community Plan.
The Kwanlin Dun First Nation wants five of its land parcels in the city shown as “KDFN Type 1 & 2 Lands” on the Official Community Plan maps. Right now, these properties are marked as greenspace.
The First Nation would like to undertake future development on the properties. Changing the designation brings the Official Community Plan more in-line with the First Nation’s self-government agreement.
A bylaw to change the designations passed first reading unanimously on Feb. 25. But Whitehorse citizens had concerns. They didn’t want park space disrupted.
Three of the properties, including one along Grey Mountain Road, are located in the Chadburn Lakes area and included in Chadburn Lake Park – the city’s largest park. These are Type 2 lands, which means the First Nation does not have subsurface rights in the areas.
Administration is recommending these three areas be removed from the park map. The city has tentatively marked $50,000 in each of the 2014, 2015 and 2016 budgets for a park-planning process. But it hasn’t decided which of the city’s five parks will be planned first, the city’s report says. The First Nation has said it would like to be part of planning for future parks, but it wouldn’t be appropriate to list these areas as greenspace if the First Nation doesn’t support that designation, the city’s report says.
The other two properties are along Fish Lake Road, near the city’s western boundary.
Citizens were also concerned about the lack of information concerning what the First Nation wants to do on these properties.
“Whitehorse citizens would like clarity around what’s happening,” said Coun. John Streicker.
The First Nation has circulated a draft of its Lands Act, said Mike Gau, director of development services. That act is comparable to the Municipal Act, he said.
“More than just waiting to be plugged in, I think we should go and try to have more of a proactive conversation with them without in any way being directive about what should happen with these lands, but to seek as much clarification as we can so we can pass this along,” said Streicker.
The bylaw goes for second reading Monday night.