McIntyre Creek schism deepens

The Friends of McIntyre Creek are not so friendly with city planners. Thursday night, the planning department hosted an open house about potential development in McIntyre Creek.

The Friends of McIntyre Creek are not so friendly with city planners.

Thursday night, the planning department hosted an open house about potential development in McIntyre Creek.

Following Official Community Plan recommendations, the city is considering building a road and a subdivision in the area.

But plans have raised the ire of local environmental groups and community associations.

The Porter Creek Community Association, the Takhini North Community Association, the Yukon Conservation Society and Friends of McIntyre Creek have all pulled out of the working group, which was working with the city on the development proposals.

They hosted their own open house last night just down the hall from the city’s.

They passed around a petition calling on the Yukon government to protect McIntyre Creek from development.

In all, 126 signatures were collected.

The working group exodus was sparked when the city released the results of a recently completed wildlife study of McIntyre Creek.

The study, conducted by Environmental Dynamics Inc., found the area is not suitable as a wildlife corridor for large animals, due to human activity.

More than 90 per cent of the animals observed in the area were humans, according to the study.

It also stated developing the Porter Creek D subdivision and road would not have an adverse effect on wildlife in the area if mitigation measures were taken.

Working group members were miffed the city issued a news release about the study before they had a chance to look at EDI’s results.

Planners weren’t trying to “spin” the report, said Mike Gau, the city’s manager of planning and development services. They issued the press release because the media had already picked up the story when the wildlife study was presented to council. “Our presentation to council was done in an open public meeting and a member of the media was at that meeting, so there was no reason to withhold our press release,” he said. “We always said that after city council reviewed the report and commented, that we would provide a copy of it to the working group.

“We’re doing exactly what we said we’d do.”

The Porter Creek D subdivision has been contentious since it was first proposed almost a decade ago.

In 2005, the city came out with a feasibility study that considered putting up to 400 homes in the area.

But that’s much larger than what the city is currently considering said Gau.

The most recent revision to the OCP significantly reduced the development area.

Without having a preliminary design he couldn’t say how big Porter Creek D would be, but he did say it would definitely be much smaller than what was proposed in the past.

However, the new concepts call for extending Pine Street with a bridge over McIntyre Creek to provide a connection to the Alaska Highway.

At the open house, poster boards were set up detailing what planners would be presenting to council.

The public was encouraged to add their own comments by attaching sticky notes to the boards.

The overwhelming majority of the comments were negative.

City planners will be accepting submissions and comments for the next three weeks.

Then everything will be compiled into a report and presented to council, which is expected to make a decision on whether to go forward with development by December 12.

Contact Josh Kerr at

joshk@yukon-news.com

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