A massive new amount of lots are becoming available via lottery in Whistle Bend as the neighbourhood enters phase five of development.
“With over 33,000 people living in the city the demand for homes is just increasing. As people’s lifestyles change their housing needs change as well,” said Community Services Minister John Streicker.
“In the next year or so the lots being offered in this latest lottery will bring even more families to Whistle Bend as new homes are built. Soon we’ll be hearing about people living on new streets such as Gypsy Queen Lane and Reliance Street,” he said.
Applications are now open for a total of 257 lots in Whitehorse, including 140 single-family lots, one duplex lot, 91 townhouse lots, 11 multi-family lots and five country residential lots in Hidden Valley.
Streiker praised the diverse lots available in the draw, including land suited to townhomes, single-family homes and multi-unit dwellings.
In addition, eight commercial lots are also being sold on Keno Way, which will hopefully form the “town centre” of the new neighbourhood. Economic Development Minister Ranj Pillai said 27 more commercial lots along that street are planned to go to tender in 2021.
“These lots will provide the foundation for creating Whistle Bend’s commercial, social and recreational hub,” Streiker said.
Mayor Dan Curtis said the vision is to include amenities like a small bakery, pub, hair salon and medium-sized grocery store available in the immediate area.
The first lots in the neighbourhood were released in 2012. Currently, around 2,000 people call the area home and Streiker said eventually 8,000 people are expected to live in the neighbourhood at final buildout.
The Phase Five draws will take place over livestream on Jan. 12, 2021, for the commercial lots, multi-family and townhouse lots. The lottery for the single-family lots and country residential lots will take place on Jan. 13, 2021.
Lots can be viewed on an interactive map on the Yukon government website.
Lots in this lottery range in price from $77,962.50 for a townhome lot to $1.5 million for a large multi-residential plot.
Prospective buyers will enter an agreement of sale for the land. Any lots not accepted within 24 hours of being offered for sale will be made available to the next person on the eligibility list.
Pillai said the lots being released now will allow planning to take place with the City of Whitehorse on development permit applications over the winter in advance of the 2021 building season.
“The new lots will also help meet some of the immediate demand and hopefully begin to build an inventory for the foreseeable future,” he said.
Opposition MLAs welcomed the news in the legislature but also demanded to know when new lots outside of Whitehorse, in rural communities that also have a housing shortage, would come online and when additional country lots would be released.
“We also have to remember that there is no silver bullet when it comes to tackling our housing crisis. While this measure will help some people, it is important to keep in mind those folks who don’t have the financial means to buy a lot and build a new house. What is YG doing to support them?” asked NDP leader Kate White.
In the last phase of the neighbourhood, 55 lots were released in a lottery on Jan. 27. A total of 244 applications were received. Pillai said it was hard to speculate on how many people will apply for this round.
“We’re gonna have to see what plays out,” he said. “With that being said, I think we’re going to see strong demand.”
“The other part of this is if, if there’s still lots left after the process has been completed, which can be sold over the counter, that’s a great story, too. We want to have an inventory collectively between both governments and we always strive to do that.
“If we sell them out we’re going to know we want to move ahead at a quick speed with the next group of lots and continue to work with Kwanlin Dün and others,” he said.
Curtis said that the Kwanlin Dün and Ta’an Kwäch’än are the largest landowners in Whitehorse and the city is currently working with the First Nations to continue to address the residential and commercial land shortage.
“We’ll do anything and everything we can to help to work together to address the concerns that we all face right now,” he said.
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